Monday, April 2, 2012

French Onion Soup

I did really well with my Cooking Light Challenge.  My challenge was to fix 5 recipes from that particular magazine during the month of March.  I made 5 and I still had three days to spare!
The last recipe I made was French Onion Soup.  I made my own beef broth, which I had never done before, with beef ribs and bones and then caramelized the onions and made the soup.  It was delicious.

Last week was a pretty rough week, my dog Lilly went to the vet and had to spend the night (I know it was harder on me than her and I don't appreciate the vet laughing when I asked if I could sleep on the floor next to her kennel at the clinic), I started acupuncture (you lay there and let someone stick needles in you without making some sarcastic comments, the acupuncturist doesn't appreciate my sense of humor), and because of the needle thing I was rushed for salad lunch and a tea party at work. How unfair is that?  The French Onion Soup almost made up for all of it.  It is also nice to have a stockpile of beef broth in the freezer next the the chicken broth. 

French Onion Soup
 Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2012

Recipe Time

Hands On: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes
Total: 5 Hours, 39 Minutes

  • 1 1/2 pounds meaty beef bones
  • 1 pound beef shanks
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges 
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Soup:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 3 large onions, vertically sliced (about 13 cups) 
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 12 (1/2-ounce) slices French bread baguette
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1 cup, packed)


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. 2. To prepare stock, arrange first 5 ingredients in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 35 minutes or until browned. Scrape beef mixture and pan drippings into a large Dutch oven. Stir in 3 quarts cold water and next 4 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 2 1/2 hours, skimming surface as necessary. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth over a bowl; discard solids. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.
  3. 3. To prepare soup, return Dutch oven to medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Melt butter in oil. Add sliced onion to pan; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and ground pepper; cook, uncovered, until deep golden brown (about 35 minutes), stirring frequently. Add reserved stock and chopped thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 8 cups (about 50 minutes). Stir in chives.
  4. 4. Preheat broiler to high.
  5. 5. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan, and broil for 2 minutes or until toasted, turning after 1 minute. Ladle 1 1/3 cups soup into each of 6 broiler-safe soup bowls. Top each serving with 2 bread slices, and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Place soup bowls on jelly-roll pan, and broil for 4 minutes or until tops are golden brown and cheese bubbles.
I doubled the stock so I have some in my freezer now.  It doesn't take much longer, just a little extra time to reduce the stock for a good meaty taste.

April 2, 2011     Daylight  13 hours,  45 minutes,  8 seconds     Current Temp.  23ºF

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