let them eat soup…

Now that fall is here, I love having soup for dinner. In fact, this week alone, I’ve had it three separate times.

Not only does soup warm you up, it’s quite filling.  There’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. Served with a crusty French bread and a small salad, you got yourself a complete meal.

Although I prefer brothy soups, I’m not too opposed to the cream-based kinds.  But if I had a choice between a minestrone or clam chowder, I will most definitely pick the minestrone.

Last week I made some sliders and I topped one of them with caramelized onions. Even though the onions are simple to make, it does take some time—about 30-45 minutes. Because I am virtually incapable of cooking in small quantities, I ended up with a huge batch of the caramelized onions. I immediately thought of making French onion soup with the left overs. But since I was going out of town for a few days, I froze the onions for later use.

Well, now is later!

Practically every restaurant, especially those calling themselves a bistro, have French onion soup on their menu. As with most things, some are better than others. The secrets to their success are perfectly prepared caramelized onions and homemade stock, preferably veal.

I like Walla-Walla, Vidalia, or Maui sweet onions. Using canned stock imparts a weird “tinny” taste and ruins the whole soup. Take the time in making stock and you will be rewarded with the best tasting soup you’ve ever had.

I defrosted the onions, along with a container of frozen veal stock and tossed them all in a stock pot. While I waited for it to boil, I made some croutons. After letting everything simmer for about an hour, the soup had turned to the most perfect shade of brown. And yes, I made enough to feed a football team. The nice thing about this soup is it will keep nicely and will taste even better in a day or two.

In an oven-safe bowl, I ladled the soup and topped it the freshly-made croutons. And to totally put this whole thing over the top—Gruyère cheese! I set the bowls under the broiler and waited for the cheese to melt.

My patience paid off when I pulled them out and saw the bubbling cheese slightly burnt all over. The intoxicating smell of sweet onions escaped as I stuck a spoon into the wall of cheese. It was rich and delicious, and I was in soup nirvana.

I just know my belly will be thanking me later…

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