Monday, September 29, 2014

French Onion Soup

The arrival of the pumpkin spice latte marks the start of my favorite time of year: Fall! Here in Georgia the weather is finally turning. Today, we celebrated with soup!

"Soup is the song of the hearth... and the home" - Louis De Gouy

When I was in college we used to have a weekly soup night. Someone would start a soup in their crockpot, and bring it over at the end of the day. We'd eat some soup, drink some wine, and watch Modern Family. Last week, we repeated that tradition. I made French Onion Soup and it was delicious. 

This was my first (successful) time making French onion soup and I am certain I will be repeating the experience. I followed a recipe from Hip Pressure Cooking, based on a Julia Child's Recipe. It wasn't all that difficult, though it did take longer than I planned. Per the directions, it takes a total of 30 minutes to cook the onions - mine took closer to 1 hour. However, I was using an electric pressure cooker, and discovered there are multiple heat settings towards the end (whoops!). I do love my instapot! It is a lifesaver.

First, you use the pressure cooker on a heat/saute (not pressure) setting to caramelize onions. The original recipe states 15 minutes until the onions are translucent and another 15 until brown. I found it was an additional 45 min to 1 hour before mine caramelized. In the future, I will probably caramelize the onions before hand in a slow cooker.

While the onions are cooking, you will need to make a roux on the stove. If you've never made a roux the trick is to keep stirring, no matter what. You will feel like its all for naught, then suddenly it will change colors. It's magical. Roux are used in many soups, and a lot of Cajun cooking. (I'll be sharing some of those recipes later). Once the roux is done, it can be set aside to add later.

Eventually, you add stock to the onions, and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Once the soup is cooked, you add the roux. Pour some soup in bowls, add a bit of cheese, a piece or two of french bread, and then some more cheese, and place under the broiler until sufficiently melted (approx 3 minutes).  (The original instructions ask you to toast the french bread before, I somehow skipped this step, but still found it to be delicious. I'm not sure I would change this in the future either - Personal Preference).

"Good Soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish" - Louis De Gouy"

French Onion Soup
(Adapted from Hip Pressure Cooking)

  • 1 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbl Butter
  • 1.5 Lbs of Onions (5 Large Yellow Onions), thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 6 Cups Meat Stock
For the Roux:
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • French Bread Slices
  • 1 Cup Guyere or Swiss Cheese, Grated
  1. In the pressure cooker, on med-low heat, melt butter with oil.
  2. Dump in onions. Soften them. Stirring occasionally. You may cover with a lid (at NO pressure), until the onions are translucent. (approx. 15 minutes).
  3. Turn the heat to low, add salt and sugar to the onions. Stir frequently until the onions are uniformly brown.
  4. In a small pan begin the roux. Add equal amounts of butter and flour and still until all the butter has melted and the flour begins to foam. Continue stirring until the color turns. When finished turn off heat, and set aside. 
  5. Once the onions have caramelized de-glaze the pressure cooker with the white wine. Let the wine evaporate completely before continuing to the next step. 
  6. Add meat stock
  7. Lock pressure cooker. Set the time for 5 minutes.
  8. When done, taste and adjust the soup with salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Remove about 1/2 cup of soup and add to roux. When thoroughly mixed, pour the mixture back into the pressure cooker.
  10. Simmer without the lid on for a few more minutes. 
To serve: pour soup in bowls, sprinkle with cheese, cover with french bread slices, then cover with additional cheese. Place under broiler until top is cooked (2 to 3 minutes).  Enjoy. 
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