Martha Mondays: Hearty Onion Soup Gratin

January 10, 2011

I chose Hearty Onion Soup Gratin from Jan Living to get us back into Martha Mondays. It’s basically a French onion soup with turnips and carrots added in. I am a lover of French onion soup and have been making it a lot recently (I had one batch where I didn’t stir my onions enough and a tiny bit burned and turned the whole soup bad).

This recipe was fairly simple:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper
4 cups beef stock
4 small carrots, halved lengthwise
3 baby turnips, peeled and cut into wedges or chunks
4 small dried bay leaves
4 large slices of bread
8 slices Gruyere

Heat oil over medium heat in skillet. Cook onions until translucent, about 8 min. Reduce to low and add thyme and cook until golden 35-40 min. Season with salt and pepper

Preheat broiler. Bring stock to boil in pot. Add carrots and turnips and simmer until almost tender, about 5 min.

Divide vegetables among 4 bowls, add onions. Add bay leaf to each. Pour in stock. Place a slice of bread on each and 2 slices cheese. Broil until bubbly.

So now that you’ve seen Martha’s instructions I’ll confess what I did. First of all, I forgot the bay leaves entirely. I didn’t have enough fresh thyme so I used dried. I actually ended up roasting my veggies (and I used baby carrots cut into chunks) in the oven. I added the onions and veggies to the stock (I had about 6 cups of it) and let it simmer for a while so the flavors would combine. I like to make my bread separately on a roasting pan and if we’re eating at home alone, I cut my cheese covered bread into chunks before adding it to my soup to make it easier to eat!

With all that being said, I enjoyed this very much. Really, you’d have to really do something horrible to make me reject a bowl of French onion soup! I enjoyed having more veggies in it and have been eating leftovers for lunch.

Here’s the schedule moving forward for the coming weeks. If this doesn’t work for you, let me know. If you’d like to join up, let me know and I’ll add you.

1/17 Steak and Potatoes Kinda Gurl

1/24 Megan’s Cookin’

1/31 Sassy Suppers

2/7 Perfecting Pru

2/14 Tiny Skillet

2/21 Sweet Almond Tree

2/28 MarthaAndMe

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French Onion Soup

October 27, 2010

French onion soup is one of my favorite things to order when we eat out because it’s something I just never make at home. Well, that is no longer a problem because I’ve hit upon a great recipe for it. It’s adapted from one I tore out of Health Magazine.

4 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

3 large sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp flour

1/3 cup sherry

8 cups beef broth

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp thyme

4-8 pieces of whole wheat or whole grain bread

4-8 slices Swiss cheese

Heat 1 tbsp butter and olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions and 1/4 tsp of the salt. Cover and cook for five minutes over medium high. Uncover, add1 tsp sugar, and cook, stirring often for about half an hour, until the onions are a light brown or golden color. Add flour and reduce heat to low. Stir for about one minute. Add sherry and cook until reduced, about a minute. Transfer to a large pot and add remaining 1 tsp sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, beef broth, soy sauce, remaining 3 tbsp butter, and thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for about half an hour or until onions are completely tender. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Toast bread, then melt the cheese on it under a broiler. Place bread in bowl and ladle soup over it.

The key is using sweet onions and being patient. This isn’t a quick thing to whip up, but there’s nothing hard about it either. You just need time to wait for things to cook.

This was velvety, smooth, sweet and very flavorful. The sherry brought in some nice flavor and the onions were soft and melted in your mouth. I like to melt the cheese right on the bread because it’s less messy to eat. My only regret is that I did not double this recipe because I wanted to freeze some, but there just wasn’t any left.

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French Onion Soup

December 4, 2009

I love French onion soup. I order it in restaurants all the time. I’ve only attempted to make it once before and it was not good at all. I think I didn’t caramelize the onions long enough. Martha has a recipe for it in December Everyday Food and I decided to give it a try. Actually, it’s one of those articles where you make one item then can make several items from it. The main item is caramelized onions. Martha’s instructions are pretty simple and I felt confident making it. I did substitute 2 large Spanish onions for the 15 white onions she calls for because that’s what I had on hand. I cooked the onions with butter until they just started to brown on high. Then I reduced the heat to medium, added 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt and cooked the onions about another 45 minutes until they were brown and sort of sticky. This did involve a lot of stirring and required opening the windows since the kids hate the smell of onions.

To make the soup, Martha says to add one cup of the onions to 5 1/2 cups of beef broth. She suggests serving a slice of bread with melted Gruyere on the side. I added the beef broth, but also added some thyme, salt and pepper. I mixed it and brought it to a boil then turned it off and let it sit while I drove children to various places. I think that allowed the flavors to meld a bit.

For the bread, I melted Gruyere on some slices of wheat bread, but then I cut it into cubes and dumped it in the soup. I love the way French onion soup looks when you get it in a restaurant, but I find it very hard to eat – all that stringy cheese and huge clumps of bread. If I do say so myself, handling it this way was sheer genius. It was easy to eat, we got all the flavors in each spoonful, no one was wrapped in a web of cheese, and it went smoothly.

I will definitely make this again! Much easier than I expected and very delicious!

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