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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Carl Cooks: No Tears French Onion Soup

When it dips to 33 degrees overnight here in Northern California it is definitely time to dip into comfort food. And one of my personal favorites in French Onion Soup adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Tyler's Ultimate. F.O.S. is another one of those foods where every recipe boasts the same ingredients but no two soups come out tasting alike. My first photo is what you need to bring home from the grocery store.


6 large yellow onions
3 cloves of garlic
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bunch of fresh chives
Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Bay Leaves
All Purpose Flour (3 tablespoons)
Red Wine (1 cup)
Vegetable or Beef Broth (3 quarts)
French Bread or Baguette
Gruyere Cheese (1/2 pound)
Unsalted Butter (1 stick)

The most effort in making this soup is deconstructing the onions. I always begin with halving them first which makes for easier peeling.

To get lots of consistently thin slices I use one of my favorite kitchen tools, the mandoline, for slicing. Mine is made by RÖSLE and is a very simplistic design. The black plastic guard is a great idea if you are a novice at slicing with a mandoline because the blades are extremely sharp.

And here's where the fun comes in. I have no problem working with one onion in a typical recipe, however, when it comes to slicing six large ones my eyes just can't handle it. One simple solution is a pair of onion goggles. Although I am not big on uni-tasking kitchen tools this one is a must when handling lots of onions. They may sit in my drawer for awhile but quickly become instantly indispensable. The most popular brand is made by RSVP and they are available at any kitchen store.

As funny as I may look in these goggles the chance of slicing my finger is greatly reduced without tears in my eyes. One other trick they teach you in culinary school is to chill your onions in the refrigerator which will reduce the gases that cause tearing but it's still not as much fun as suiting up with the protective gear like one of the HAZMAT team. :-)

So a great big bowl of thinly sliced onions is a good start for your soup.


Peel & Slice Onions per my pictures
Peel and finely mince garlic cloves
Slice bread and toast lightly
Grate Gruyere Cheese
Finely mince chives


Melt Butter in large pot
Add Onions, Garlic, Bay Leaves, Thyme Sprigs, S & P
Stir often until soft and fully sweated. (About 25 minutes)
Add Wine and Bring to Boil the Reduce to Simmer
Discard Bay Leaves and Thyme Sprigs
Dust with Flour, Stirring well and cook 10 minutes
Add Broth and continue cooking 10 minutes

The best bowl for French Onion Soup is a ramekin that can take the heat of your oven broiler. Since I like to make this soup so often I invested in bowls made especially for this dish by Revol.


Place toasted bread slices in bowls
Ladle soup into bowls
Top with shredded cheese
Place in bowls into oven and broil until cheese is completely melted
Top with chopped chive garnish

And Voila...Soup's On...Tears Off!

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