It is almost New Year's Day. You know, the time of year when we all make resolutions that we might or might not keep. For years I made the resolution to loose weight, exercise more, whatever. I think the longest I ever kept those resolutions was a month and a half. Yep.
I am older and wiser now.
I still make resolutions, they are just things that I really want to do. Thus, I keep them. That is the trick. For instance, this year my resolution is to either sleep late or take a nap at least 2 Sundays a month. It will bring me joy, which, in turn, makes me a better mother and wife. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
See, older and wiser.
Learn from me, young paduwan.
Thus, I am making a soup that will make me happy. It might make you happy. It probably won't make you exercise more or loose weight, though. Sorry.
French Onion Soup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter
4 large yellow onions (about 3 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4 inch thick slices
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup cognac (I use it, but you don't have to)
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups beef broth (I use 4 cups water and 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon better than bouillon)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
ground black pepper to taste
1 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
8 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Add the olive oil and butter to a large (at least 7 quart) heavy bottomed Dutch oven. I use enameled cast iron.
Add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume.
Remove the pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, 15 - 20 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with a dark crust, about 10 minutes, adjusting the heat to medium if necessary.
Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping the pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 - 8 minutes.
Repeat this process of deglazing 1 or 2 more times, until the onions are a very dark brown. Deglaze the last time with the cognac instead of water.
Stir in the broths (or water and bouillon), thyme, bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot.
Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
While the soup simmers, arrange the baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp and golden at the edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
To serve -
Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 2-3 baguette slices and sprinkle evenly with Gruyere. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3-5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.