So my other most recent cooking adventure was to make French Onion Soup! I love this delicious, savory, hearty soup and I was excited to try it at home.
I also thought it would be a good one to work on since it's pretty much idiot proof. You cook the onions down to a beautiful golden brown, add it to broth, throw some herbs around, add bread and cheese and bake. It hardly needs a recipe, though I referenced a few to find out which herbs to put in it, which I still modified. Basically, I was totally in charge of this one. What could go wrong??
First, I started with the onions. Yum! I love onions in all forms. I used the magic mandoline to get them all thin and wonderful. Then because I was lazy and don't really like the giant chunks of onions I get at restaurants, I used scissors (now deemed kitchen scissors) to chop them all up fairly small.
I added them to my pan and drizzled olive oil on them. I decided to stay away from butter since it isn't as good for you. It looked kinda like hash browns... Anyway, they are supposed to get a nice golden color and kinda soft. All carmelized goodness.
About ten minutes in, they looked like this.
During the onion operation, I had been letting my broth simmer. I used a combination broth. Half chicken stock (since it's what I had in the pantry) and after I realized I didn't have enough and it didn't quite taste the way I thought it should, I got some beef stock. Really it didn't taste the way I thought it should until the very very end when it all came together.
Anyway, I had my broth mix a simmering and needed to add my herbs. I gathered up the good stuff and got some cheese cloth. I used sage, bay leaf, (just a little) tarragon, parsley, rosmary, and I think a little thyme. I like herbs, so I just threw a bunch of what I had in.
Then I sealed it up with some string/yarn and threw it in the pot of broth for a little while.
So this round of onions I kept in thin cut circles as they came out of the mandoline. I thought it would be nice to have some contrast in the onions in the soup. Boy, was I wrong on so many counts. It turned out ok in the end, but it wasn't as good a choice as I had hoped. And while I was cooking them, I couldn't get them to cook as evenly, so they looked a like this....
They look like burned little worms :( Luckily, they tasted ok, and I picked out the really burned ones and just munched on them while I was prepping the rest of the stuff before I added it to the broth.
About this time, I buttered up the bread and added some garlic. I broiled it and kept a close watch on it. I've burned a lot of bread this way in my days and I didn't want to mess it up when (almost) everything else was going so well.
I'd added the onions to the broth before the broiling began and let them simmer in there for a while. It looked pretty decent actually.
Then I added the broth to my broiled bread in a bowl! I preheated the oven to the correct cooking temp for cheesing (about 400 degrees F). It looks so good, even without cheese!
Then I added the cheese. I'd heard that Gruyere was the kind you were *supposed* to use. But I'd also seen reviews saying it wasn't as good as others. So I made three different kinds (one for each of us!). One was Gruyere, one was Parmesan, and one was an "italian cheese blend". I thought they all looked gorgeous and I was super stoked that the bowls I had had the nice little handle situation. Saved some serious burns.
After some cooking, which to be honest, was a little varied, we dumped them in not baked bowls and ate up! The cheeses were a bit hard to tell when they were done. The Gruyere didn't melt the same way as the others, it was soft and a little melty, but not really. The best looking was the Parmesan, but the Italian blend did well too. They looked something like this after we poured them into cooler bowls.
Finally, we had our chance to do the taste test. Overall, they were AMAZING. It took quite a while to make the whole thing, but they were so delicious. I loved the Parmesan, which is the one I picked for me. My boyfriend got the Italian blend and my sister the Gruyere. We decided the Gruyere really wasn't as good as the others. I thought the Parmesan was best, but the Italian came a close second. They both liked the idea of having the bread separate and for dipping, but I liked it soggy in the soup. I think it just depends on how you like it. We will be making this again. It was a lot of fun to make and is really delicious and filling!
I totally recommend making this! :) I hope that you'll like it as much as we did.