Soup is important this time of year. It's like a wood burning stove. It totally warms you from the inside out. I love soup at all times of year, but during these cold, beautiful, bleak winter days it's on the menu more than a couple of nights a week:) James and I went on a date the other night and had a wonderful meal. If you're ever in Logan Utah check out The Elements. Lovely! James had French Onion Soup for his soup/salad course, and I decided since I couldn't give up my lovely Caesar Salad, I'd just have to make some French Onion at home. Glad I did because it has now warmed me up twice. Dinner last night, and lunch today. It actually tastes better the second day. James makes fun of me for this, but I think the flavors enhance overnight, and taste more wonderful on a lot of things. This soup being one of them.
I take a bit of the easy route in this soup recipe, but if you're more of the fancy/perfectionist type, go ahead and make a lovely beef stock from scratch. I don't think you can go wrong with that. You'll need 2 quarts of broth for the soup. I also switched up the cheese melted on top a bit too. I used Swiss, Asiago, and Bleu Cheese!!! It was delish!! Definitely a must. I served with some roast beef sandwiches to dip in the soup and a big Everything Salad. My all time fave. So if you need a little warming up I hope you enjoy:)
French Onion Soup with Bleu Cheese Toasts
5-6 good size yellow onions sliced thin
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
In a large stock pot or even better a large saute pan, place all the onions, olive oil and salt. Turn the heat up to medium and let those onions start to sweat. I had the lid on my onions for about an hour and they still weren't really turning brown. Once I removed the lid, the liquid the onions released, evaporated quickly and the onions started to brown/caramelize. Once they start to brown turn the heat down to low and just let them cook until they are a a deep brown color. It usually takes a good 20-30 minutes. I burned mine quite quickly by becoming too preoccupied when the heat was still high so make sure to turn the onions down, and check and stir them frequently.
Once the onions were a really pretty color I added:
2 qts. water (or beef broth)
1 packet dry Au Jus mix (If you add broth don't add the Au Jus.)
5 beef bouillon cubes
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 of a 6oz. can tomato paste (Freeze the rest for use later.)
2 T. fresh thyme or 1 t. dried
Bring ingredients to a gently boil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Depending on how sweet your onions are, you can add a little sugar. I didn't need any last night, but I have in times past.
Ladle the soup into soup bowls or crocks. I toasted some French Bread Slices ahead of time to use in the soup. In each bowl I place a small slice of Swiss cheese in first and then topped it with the toast. It helps with the sog factor. Then I placed another slice of Swiss cheese, a T. or so of shredded Asiago Cheese and 1T. of Bleu Cheese crumbles. Make sure your bowls are broiler proof and place bowl under the broiler. I waited until the cheese was completely bubbly, and starting to brown a bit. The bowls are dang hot so be careful, but dig in and enjoy!