Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Eats Challenge Week 5: French Onion Soup

This week we took a departure from the proper order of things and skipped ahead to the French Onion Soup (technically there are three between last week's and the soup but we felt like soup). Boy was I glad we did! Seriously, the best soup ever. My theory on why it was so amazing was that we bought the proper equipment (an electric skillet) and were patient. 

For anyone who has made French Onion Soup before you know the key is getting the onions caramelized properly. Mine never did. I would either burn them or leave them under cooked because I wanted to be done. This time however, I was a good chef and waited.

Here's the recipe:

Take 5lbs of sweet onions and cut into thin slices. Meanwhile, melt 3 tbs of butter in a 12 inch electric skillet set at 250. Toss your onions in the skillet in three batches seasoning with 1tsp of salt between each layer. Sweat onions until they have caramelized and are a dark mahogany stirring occasionally. This is the tricky part, knowing when they are done. I started with mine looking like this

After about an hour they looked like this... but I kept going

Ahh, patience my friends. See how nice and caramelized they are? Yum!

Once they are reduced add 2 cups of white wine and reduce until syrupy (about 5-10 min). Then add the rest of your liquid (3 cups Beef Consomme, 2 cups Chicken Broth) and reduce to a simmer. Toss in 2 sprigs of thyme, parsley and 2 bay leaves. Leave them whole so you can fish them out later.

While that cooks (20 min) toast up your bread and cut up some Gruyere.

Once your soup has simmered you can add some Cognac for a bit more flavor (Add a bit for yourself too)

Then ladle into bowls (don't forget to remove your herbs) and top with your toast and cheese.

Now, melt that cheese! Since our broiler is so small I use a creme brule torch.

MMM Toasty!

We are happy cooks!

Quite a tasty soup if I do say so myself. I really liked the electric skillet too because I could go into the other room and work while the onions were caramelizing and just pop back in every once in a while to stir. No fuss.

Next week: Key Lime Sorbet! Yum!

***Side note: in the official Food Network recipe they include the apple cider that he uses in the show but since the book doesn't include it we left it out too. Personally, I like it better this way.