Sunday Food: French Onion Soup
(Picture courtesy of stumptownpanda at flickr.com.)
This one I love, but might not have put up but I had a conversation about it with eCAHNomics, who suggested this post and gets credit for it, and while I love to eat the onion soup, I admit I never have made it. I will leave this to you to try, as presently I’m visiting in my son’s condo while he recuperates from hip surgery. You will enjoy this one, if you do. I have to try it later.
- 1 stick Butter
- 4 whole Large (or 6 Medium) Yellow Onions, Halved Root To Tip, And Sliced Thin
- 1 cup (generous) Dry White Wine
- 4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 4 cups Beef Broth
- 2 cloves Minced Garlic
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Several Thick Slices Of French Bread Or Baguette
- 5 ounces, weight (to 7 Ounces) Gruyere Cheese, Grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Place soup pot into the oven with the lid slightly ajar to ensure the onions will brown. Allow onions to cook in the oven for 1 hour, stirring at least once during the cooking process so onions won’t stick and burn.
Remove pot from oven and place back on stovetop over medium heat. Stir, scraping off all the brown, flavorful bits. Turn off heat and pour in wine. Turn heat back to medium. Cook wine for five minutes, allowing it to reduce. Add broths, Worcestershire Sauce and minced garlic and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
Butter one side of the bread slices and broil over low heat, allowing bread to brown and become crispy. When soup is ready, ladle into bowl or ramekin. Place crispy bread on top, and then sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.
That lovely onion smell means a lot, and in cold and flu season, you want to keep a supply around. I have them in just about everything. They are the stuff of legend, literally, and have been part of our humanity’s cuisine as far back as we trace our histories.
The onion is easily propagated, transported and stored. The ancient Egyptians worshipped it, believing its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. Onions were even used in Egyptian burials, as evidenced by onion traces being found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV.
In ancient Greece, athletes ate large quantities of onion because it was believed to lighten the balance of the blood. Roman gladiators were rubbed down with onions to firm up their muscles. In the Middle Ages, onions were such an important food that people would pay their rent with onions, and even give them as gifts. Doctors were known to prescribe onions to facilitate bowel movements and erections, and to relieve headaches, coughs, snakebite and hair loss.
Onions were taken by the first settlers to North America, where the Native Americans were already using wild onions in a number of ways, eating them raw or cooked in a variety of foods. They also used them to make into syrups, to form poultices and in the preparation of dyes. According to diaries kept by the colonists, bulb onions were one of the first things planted by the Pilgrim Fathers when they cleared the land for cropping in 1648.
Onions were also prescribed by doctors in the early 16th century to help with infertility in women. They were similarly used to raise fertility levels in dogs, cats and cattle, but this was an error as recent research has shown that onions are toxic to dogs, cats, guinea pigs and many other animals.
The onion is described as the most commonly cultivated of vegetables, and is used around the world in a variety of ways.