Posted by: briellethefirst | November 19, 2010

French Onion Soup

Start with Friday Night Shank Steaks. This takes planning, but is SO worth it! Or you could just buy a can of beef broth. I suggest starting on Friday night with the shank steaks and making a weekend of it. And if you want to have fresh-baked bread for Saturday night you can spend 5 to 10 minutes getting the bread started then, too. Don’t worry, it just sits overnight & doesn’t take as much work as you’d expect, just read that post too. See ya soon!

OK, now it’s Saturday and you have time to make broth. See my post on making broth from chicken/turkey/etc. bones/carcasses. I suggest you make the broth on Saturday and the soup on Sunday so you can refrigerate the broth and the fat is easy to take off when it’s solid. If you don’t mind the fat (more or less, depending on how much went in with the bones and scraps) or if you’re just impatient you can go ahead and make the soup on Saturday. Pull the bones out of the freezer and roast them for an hour in wine. 

roasting beef bones

Then put the bones on to simmer 

making beef broth

Simmer bones

while you go about your chores so you can get the bread dough out and give it a bit of a knead. 10 minutes or so should do. Now, while everyone’s busy you can set a spell and do some reading. Make sure you have a bit of flour on your cheek. All this cooking and cleaning and slaving away…and don’t forget the cider-er-apple juice!

Before I go further, I want to stress that I understand that not everyone has a standard M-F work week, so whatever day happens to end up being your Friday is fine, just adjust the timing to your schedule. If you don’t have 2 days off in a row you can always freeze the bones and then the broth until you’re ready to use them. I use my empty butter containers for this. Have fun!

OK, Now it’s Sunday afternoon and you’re planning a nice dinner for…? Let’s say 2. That’s easy to work with, and if you need 4 or 6 you can do the math. If you had a salad Friday and used a head of lettuce instead of just one of those bags o’ scraps it’ll still be good. Tear it into salad bowls and add any other yummy stuff like cucumbers, tomatoes, walnuts, onions, cheese and or croutons made from leftover Saturday bread. Now take the leftover bread from Saturday night and make 1 thick-ish slice for each bowl and toast them lightly and cut the rest into cubes for croutons. If you want veggies on the side broccoli, cauliflower asparagus or artichokes are nice. Grate your cheese: mozzarella, Swiss, Muenster, mild cheddar, whatever you like, just not terribly strong. I wouldn’t use a strong cheese. OK, you might, but I wouldn’t. Don’t want it to fight with the broth and onions.

Get the broth out of the fridge and warm it in a pan. Slice a few large onions into rings or C’s, more if your onions are small, fewer if they’re larger,

Slice some onions

Slice some onions

and sweat down over medium low heat in olive oil or butter or bacon fat until caramelized 

like candy


and yummy like candy. This will take a while, so get comfy. After about 15 minutes they should start to show colour. Make sure you stir every few minutes and scrape the bottom of the pan so they don’t stick. Put them in a bowl and deglaze the pan with some of the broth.

get the flavour into the broth

Deglaze onion pan

  If you have extra after making the soup you can always save it in the fridge or freezer for another dish, but it’s so yummy you may have to make sure you have enough for dinner. One medium to large onion should be enough for 2 to 4 bowls of soup. Now that you have everything you can set the table and dish out the soup.

Divide the caramelized onions into each bowl.

Don't sneak samples

put some onions in each bowl

Try to resist sampling. Ladle broth into each bowl. Toast a piece of bread for each bowl

make toast

toast bread

and float a piece of toast on each bowl of broth

float toast

Float toasted bread on broth

and sprinkle with grated cheese.

sprinkle cheese

Sprinkle with grated cheese

Put under the broiler to melt the cheese.

Melt cheese

Melt cheese under broiler




I’ll leave the choice of wine up to you, but a simple red should do.


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