BBQ My Way: Classic French Onion Soup
We recently had a big group of people over for a family event, and knowing it was going to turn cold that day I decided to pull out our French onion soup recipe that we have made for at least 25 years. This is a perfect dish to make on a cold autumn or winter day when you have a little time on you hands. The recipe below fed eight to 10 people, so vary the amounts accordingly. Give it a try! Believe me, it's better than any French onion soup you will get at a restaurant. Interestingly enough, this soup dates back to the Romans. It was the French who came up with the technique of caramelizing the onions, hence the name.
CLASSIC FRENCH ONION SOUP
12 sweet yellow onions
32 ounces beef broth
2 cups dry to semi-dry wine
Thinly sliced Swiss cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
3-4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2-3 teaspoons of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 French bread baguette
Most of the work is in the peeling and slicing of the onions. Once you get all the onions peeled and sliced into thin rings, place them in a large pot with the butter and vegetable oil. Turn the burner to medium to medium-high heat. At this early stage in the process you are into the true secret of a great French onion soup, and that is patience.
You see, when I first made the soup years ago, I sauteed the onions until they were translucent and barely turning yellow. It wasn't nearly long enough. The sauteing of the onions should take 45 minutes to an hour, and at the end the onions will have reduced in size by two-thirds. The onions should be a nice golden color. This is when you know the onions are properly caramelized and have reached peak sweetness. Stir in the flour and saute for another couple of minutes. Now add the beef broth and the wine. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer on low to medium-low for 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toast the baguette in the oven and then slice into pieces about one-inch thick. Ladle the soup into oven-proof soup bowls. Top with a piece of the toasted baguette, a slice of Swiss cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
Place in the oven at 350 degrees "broil" setting. Pull the bowls out when the cheese is melted and slightly toasted. Be careful when serving as the soup will be really hot. Enjoy! If you do it right this will become a family favorite.
Dave Lobeck is a financial advisor by day and a BBQ enthusiast on nights and weekends. He is also a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) judge. You can contact Dave with your BBQ and grilling questions at www.BBQ-My-Way.com.
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