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Food Comics: French Onion Soup

Tom O.
Posted by Tom O. on Sep 14, 2017
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We are pleased to introduce Food Comics from The Chopping Block where our resident Cartoonist Tom O'Brien illustrates his cooking adventures. Here, he shows us how to make his favorite soup, Alton Brown's version of French Onion Soup. 

Hello again, Food Fans. The weather is getting chillier and I'm in the mood for soup and one of my all-time favorites is French Onion Soup When I first go to a restaurant, I almost always get French Onion Soup. It gives me a good baseline of what the restaurant is like, but the best version I've had in quite some time are ones I've made at home. The version of this classic recipe that I use is from Alton Brown. I've talked before about how much I like Brown's recipes, and he really knocks it out of the part with this one. This recipe makes enough soup for 8 servings as a starter, but closer to 4 if you're planning to have it as a main course. Here's what you'll need for this recipe: 3 sweet onions 2 red onions 3 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups white wine 10 ounces canned beef consomme 10 ounces chicken broth 10 ounces apple cider (I prefer unfiltered, but filtered is fine) 2 thyme sprigs 1 bay leaf 2 parsley sprigs 1 loaf country style bread Kosher salt Ground black pepper 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated First, you'll want to trim the ends off each onion then halve lengthwise. Go ahead and remove the thin papery peel. Then finely slice the onion into half-moon shapes. There are two primary ways to cook this soup. One is in a stock pot on the stove top. The other is in an electric skillet. I don't use my skillet a ton, but I do use it for this. It gives me a very precise temperature and makes clean up a breeze. If you're using an electric skillet, set it to 300 degrees, otherwise, put a large stock pot over medium heat. Either way, add in your butter. Once butter has melted, add about a quarter of the onions and sprinkle with some salt. Repeat layering onions and salt until all onions are in the skillet or pot. Cover and leave the onions to cook for 15 to 20 minutes until they've sweated down a bit. This means no stirring. After that, stir every now and then until onions are dark brown and reduced down to around 2 cups. This should take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Do not worry about burning. Next, add in enough wine to cover the onions and turn heat to high. You want to reduce the wine until it has a syrupy consistency. Now, add in the beef consomme, chicken broth, apple cider, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Some stores will stock consomme with the soups and some with the broths. If you're having a hard time finding consomme in your grocery store, you can make your own by using twice as many bullion cubes as is normally called for in a standard volume of water. Take these last few minutes to prep the broiler. Place oven rack in top 1/3 of your oven and heat broiler. You can also use this time to cut a few slices of country bread. The fresher the loaf, the better it will be, so a loaf from the bakery earlier that day is preferred. Cut the slices into rounds large enough to fit into a soup crocks. Place the slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 1 minute. Once the soup is finished simmering, season it with salt and pepper to taste. Don't forget to take out the thyme sprigs, parsley sprigs, and bay leaf. Some of the leaves may have fallen from the sprigs, which is fine. You just want to make sure that you get the bay leaf and the woody bits. Ladle soup into crocks leaving one inch to the lip. Put a bread round, toasted side down, into each crock and then top with grated gruyere. Place the crocks under the broiler and cook until cheese is bubbly and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot and gooey. Happy Eating!

Want more ideas for hearty, warming soups this fall? Don't miss The Chopping Block's Autumn Soups and Stews demonstration cooking class coming up at our Lincoln Square location in October:

You'll learn how to make:

  • Minestrone with Farro, Chickpeas and Kale
  • Cassoulet (White Bean, Turkey Sausage and Chicken Stew)
  • Tuscan Beef Ragout with Red Wine, Tomatoes and Rosemary
  • Tom Kha Gai (Spicy Shrimp, Coconut Milk and Lemongrass Soup) 

View our calendars

Love our food comics but want a text-only version for easy reference in the kitchen? Download a PDF of the recipe here.

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Topics: soup, onions, French, soups, Recipes, onion, food comics

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