Wednesday, February 16, 2011

French Onion Soup

In our house, one of our favorite soups is French Onion Soup.  I was always intimidated by not only the caramelizing of the onions but also the length of time it took to make.  Recently, while in the northwoods, the soup was on the menu.  I started it in the morning and let it go all day.  This makes 8 servings.
This had to have been the best French onion soup I have had and I think it was because it was made slowly all day long.  If you are making this mid-week, my suggestion is to caramelize the onions first the night before and then put the soup together in the slow-cooker all day.

French Onion Soup

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
6 large sweet onions, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)
1 whole garlic bulb
1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
6 cups beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
Dash cayenne pepper
Pepper, to taste
8 slices French bred (1-inch thick)
1 round (8 ounce) Brie cheese, softened
6 thin slices prosciutto or deli ham, chopped
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

1.  In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with 1/4 cup oil; add onions.  Cook, without stirring, for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.  Cook 45 minutes more or until onions are golden, stirring occasionally.

2.  Meanwhile, remove paper outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves).  Cut top off garlic bulb; brush with remaining oil.  Wrap in heavy-duty foil.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until softened.  Cool for 10-15 minutes.  Squeeze softened garlic into a small bowl; mash and set aside.

3.  Add wine to the onion mixture; cook until reduced by half.  Stir in the broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, cayenne and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours and then uncover for 30 minutes.

4.  Place bread slices on a baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.  Spread each slice with Brie and mashed garlic; sprinkle with prosciutto or ham

5.  Discard bay leaf from soup; ladle 1 cup each into eight oven-proof bowls.  Top with one slice of toast; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Place bowls on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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