Kass describes his creation as “the best French Onion soup in the universe,” and I don’t think that’s complete hyperbole.
But unless Kass or someone else makes this soup for me–with the roasting of veal and beef bones and the de-glazing of the pan and the straining the liquid, there was no way I was going to be slurping down all that deliciousness any time soon.
My craving for French Onion Soup had actually started a week earlier when I won the lottery in the soup department, having had the privilege of tasting my friend Marilyn’s French Onion Soup. Marilyn Soraparo, an interior designer at Toms-Price Home Furnishings, happens to be one of the best home cooks I know.
Just thinking about her sexy French Onion Soup with its deep, dark oniony goodness, covered with a thick layer of melted cheese broiled to perfection, is making my mouth water as I write this.
While I admit I’ve never tried Kass’ soup, Marilyn’s soup has to rival it. Heck, Marilyn’s soup has to rival crack. Although I never tried that either and don’t plan to.
Anyway, between having had a brief, short love affair with Marilyn’s soup and then having read about Kass’ soup and literally savoring every word, I became obsessed with French Onion Soup.
I had to have more.
I decided to make some. I went to Google and read the recipes for French Onion Soup from some of my favorite superstar chefs. There was Martha’s version. Ina Garten’s. The Pioneer Woman’s. And Tyler Florence’s. I checked out a bunch of food websites too for French Onion Soup, including Kitchen Daily, Epicurious, Serious Eats and Fine Cooking.
My recipe is not that dissimilar from some of these recipes. But it has three properties which make it different from all of them, and I think make it blog-worthy:
1. It’s simpler to make than the other recipes. Why is that important? Because, well, I’m lazy. My version, for example, uses store-bought broth. And although it’s topped with gooey melted cheese (which as far as I’m concerned is mandatory for French Onion Soup), the recipe eliminates the need to put each individual bowl back in the oven to broil the cheese.
2. It’s a bit healthier than the others, requiring only 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. The Pioneer Woman’s and Tyler Florence’s recipes both call for a whole stick of butter, for goodness sake!
My mission was, in part, to create a French Onion Soup you wouldn’t have to feel guilty about eating, and I think most of you will agree that I achieved that goal. And actually, you can make the soup even healthier if you want. I used Trader Joe’s organic low sodium chicken broth and white whole wheat flour–although you don’t have to.
While my French Onion Soup might not be as complex to prepare as some of the other versions out there, including John Kass’, there’s no mistaking that this French Onion Soup is downright delicious and satisfying. It’s the real thing, all right. And that’s the bottom line.
French Onion Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium onions, or 7 cups sliced onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 quarts chicken or beef broth, salt and pepper, to taste
6 slices of swiss cheese
6 slices of whole wheat bread, crusts removed to fit on top of inidividual soups, toasted in toaster or oven.
1. Heat butter and olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add onions, turning down the heat to medium low. Saute for 15 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Continue to saute onions for 45 more minutes or until they’re soft and carmelized and turn a rich golden brown, stirring every once in a while.
3. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir to coat, cooking about 5 minutes.
4. Add the sherry, stir and simmer uncovered for about five minutes. Add stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil and simmer another 10 minutes.
5. Heat oven on to 350. On cookie sheet, place a slice of Swiss cheese over each slice of whole wheat toast. When just melted–4-5 minutes remove from oven.
6. When ready to serve, ladle soup into each bowl. Top with toasted bread and cheese.