Friday, August 27, 2010

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

French onion soup is one of those foods that captured me utterly as a child and I've loved it since the first moment I tasted the hot, salty beef broth full of tender onions, gooey cheese, and soup-soaked bread. It quickly became one of those items that, if I saw it on a restaurant menu, I had to order it. Maybe it's that childhood memory, but even after having had it countless of times at many varied dining establishments, from the modest to the highbrow, I still think Mimi's Cafe, the location of that first taste of heaven, serves some of the best French onion soup around.

French Onion Soup

Over the years, however, I've become more conscious of my salt intake, and French onion soup everywhere tends to be oversalted. Being able to control the amount of salt is a very good reason to try and make it at home, but for whatever reason, I never have. It's not supposed to be a difficult dish to make, but on some level I found it intimidating (or the fear of failure intimidating).

Recently, Trix and I decided to resurrect our "Friday Night Dinners," except we're no longer going to adhere to any strict schedule, and our efforts are going to primarily focus on the slow cooker. This is to accommodate Trix's limited and often unpredictable schedule, but still allow us to do something we enjoy.

Trix loved this French onion soup recipe. I just found it OK, a bit too sweet (next time I probably won't add the sugar). However, the key to this dish is the broth. If you don't start with a broth you love, the results aren't going to be something you love, either. She used Better Than Bouillon; I used Trader Joe's organic beef broth. The soup cooking in the slow cooker all day made the house smell WONDERFUL. It smelled better than it tasted, actually -- but I can't wait to try this again with homemade beef broth. I'm betting it will make a huge difference.

The best thing about this experience is that I've gotten over my intimidation of making this dish!

French Onion Soup

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup (recipe adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking)

Ingredients
  • 32oz beef broth
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 slices of French bread
  • 4 slices of Swiss cheese (or gruyere cheese)
Method

  1. Heat the slow cooker to high and add the butter; it will start melting.
  2. Add the onions, beef broth, sugar, salt and sherry.
  3. Cook the soup on high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-12.
  4. Ladle soup into oven-proof bowls or crocks.  Layer bread onto the bowls of soup and add a slice (or two) of cheese on top.  Don't worry if it hangs over the edge, it'll melt and stick to the bowl, a true French onion soup experience!
  5. Place under a hot broiler for a few minutes, or until the cheese has melted and turned a lovely golden brown.

1 comment:

ropo said...

Is a slow cooker the same as a crock pot? My dad makes his soup in a crock pot and he LOVES onion soup. He could make this! It would make him so happy!