For me, this first week of December is all about using up leftovers, paring down the inventory in my refrigerator, and making unfussy homestyle meals. That's why for dinner I'll be preparing a rustic, countryside-inspired French onion soup with remaining holiday leftovers and other pantry staples on hand.
Typically, French onion soup begins by caramelizing onions at a low temperature for an extended period, which brings out the onions' sweetness, adds silkiness, and enhances the soup's depth. But if you've got a lot on your plate, cut the time dramatically by using fewer ingredients and employing the help of French-fried onions.
Either way, you'll wind up with a dish that's comforting and not overly indulgent. Find a version that suits your schedule when you read more.
3 14-ounce cans ready-to-eat beef broth
3/4 cup canned French-fried onions
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 slices stale French bread
4 1-ounce slices Swiss cheese
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Arrange four 10-ounce oven-safe soup bowls on a baking sheet. Divide the broth and onions among them. Add 1 tablespoon of sherry to each. Float a slice of bread in each bowl and top with a slice of cheese.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the soup is bubbling.
Nutritional information per serving: Calories 305, Fat 16g, Fiber 1g, Protein 15mg, Carbohydrate 22g, Sodium 1288mg, Saturated fat 7g
- Soups/Stews, Clear
2 lb medium onions, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced lengthwise
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth (32 fl oz)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices of baguette
1 (1/2-lb) piece Gruyère, Comte, or Emmental
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Special equipment: 6 (8- to 10-oz) flameproof soup crocks or ramekins; a cheese plane
- Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
- While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes.
- Remove croûtes from oven and preheat broiler. Put crocks in a shallow baking pan.
- Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among crocks, then float a croûte in each. Slice enough Gruyère (about 6 ounces total) with cheese plane to cover tops of crocks, allowing ends of cheese to hang over rims of crocks, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serves 6 as a light main course.
Note: Soups and croûtes can be made 3 days ahead (but do not add croûtes and cheese to soup); cool completely, uncovered, then chill soup, covered, and keep croûtes in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat soup before proceeding with recipe.
- Soups/Stews, Clear