french onion soup

Good morning and Happy New Year to all of you (probably) tired and (possibly) hung-over readers. Let me say that today is NOT the day to start your whole30/vegan/paleo/I-only-eat-leaves diet. Give me a break. Your diet actually starts January 2. January 1st is transition day! Today, your job is to eat something to transition your stomach from holiday binge to “I will diet like Gisele Bundchen.” Though, if I had a full-time personal chef I would probably eat healthier too. I’m pretty sure Tom and Gisele are served delicious tasting food that burns calories while they chew it and never makes them gain an ounce of fat? But I digress (audible sigh).

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So what should you eat today? I am so glad you asked. Today is for French onion soup. My (humble) take on Julia Child’s French onion soup. On the scale of holiday binge to New Year’s resolution diet, this falls right in the middle, and is exactly what this registered nurse (yours truly) is prescribing for you today. And, the ingredients are cheap, which is perfect because heaven knows how much we all just spent on Christmas gifts for their dog.

Maybe by March I will remember to date all my checks with 17 instead of 16.

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FRENCH ONION SOUP
adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Serves 4-6 (4 large bowls or 6 small bowls)

soup:
2 pounds thinly sliced onion
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup flour or a gluten-free substitute (if you don’t have a substitute just leave this out)
2 quarts beef broth (vegetarians, try a vegetable or mushroom broth here, or a vegetarian beef bullion…ultimately a darker/richer broth will taste best)
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup brandy
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan or gruyère for serving

OPTIONAL:
croûtes au fromage (toasted bread with cheese! for those of us that eat gluten)
1 loaf French bread
¼ cup olive oil
5-7 ounces parmesan or gruyère

Heat a large saucepan or pot to medium low. Add butter, olive oil, and when butter is melted add your sliced onions. Cover for 15 minutes without stirring or peeking. Yes, I’m serious. Next, uncover and add salt and sugar. Raise heat to medium and cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring frequently until onions are a deep golden brown.

When onions are browned, add flour (if using) and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add broth slowly, stirring after each addition. When broth is fully incorporated, add wine, brandy, and salt/pepper to taste. If you have any extra cheese rinds, throw them in the soup for an even richer broth (they will probably melt, but if they don’t, take them out after simmering)! Simmer for 30 minutes to infuse the flavors. If you are making the croûtes au fromage, start baking them at the start of your simmer (see instructions below).

Serve soup with grated cheese.

To make croûtes au fromage:
Cut 12 slices of French bread and bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes total. At the 15 minute mark, brush olive oil onto both sides of your toasts and finish baking for the remaining 15 minutes.

Grate your cheese while bread is baking. When soup is ready to serve, top each slice of bread with 2 tablespoons grated cheese, and broil for 1-2 minutes, until cheese bubbling and edges of bread are dark brown. Alternatively (if you have oven proof bowls), place one or two slices of bread on top of your soup, top with cheese, and put the bowl in the oven to broil.

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