FRENCH RED ONION SOUP
~ A slightly different tasty take on the 'classic' ... red onions and red wine (fine herbs) instead of white onions and white wine ...
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 large red thinly sliced red onions
pinch of sugar
8 cups organic beef broth/stock
1 cup red wine
rosemary and thyme fresh or dried to taste
coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
brandy or cognac
8 slices of Gruyere (swiss or favorite) cheese
8 slices of good/firm bread like sourdough,
trimmed to fit opening of soup crock
Extra-virgin olive oil
- In large stockpot, melt butter and olive. Sauté sliced onions until well coated, cover and cook on low for 25 minutes or until soft.
- Sprinkle onions with a bit of sugar. Raise heat and sauté, constantly turning, 30 minutes or so until well caramelized.
- Add wine and stirring, deglaze bottom of pan. Bring to boil and add beef stock, herbs, salt & pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add generous glugs of brandy. Return to high heat, lower and simmer a bit for 3 minutes. (At this point you can either continue or cool and refrigerate ... actually, better to do ahead but again heat soup before continuing on with recipe).
- When ready to serve: Preheat oven to 350º. Place bread slices on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes until firm. Ladle soup into individual serving oven-safe crocks and top with bread. Place cheese over bread, place in oven heat for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. If desired, place under broiler to finish or brown cheese. (Note: take care ... this is very HOT!)
"January is the quietest month in the garden. ... But just because it looks quiet doesn't mean that nothing is happening. The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants. The feasting earthworms tunnel along, aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome the seeds and bare roots to come."
~ Rosalie Muller Wright
Editor of Sunset Magazine, 1/99