French Onion Soup

The other day after I made the vegetarian shepherd's pie that wiped out my fridge and counters of pretty much all veggies, I was at a loss as to what to make to sustain us again until delivery day. However, no matter how dire our food situation looks (I'm sure I've talked about my disdain for the grocery store), there are two ingredients I always seem to have on hand: onions and wine. Not to say I'm munching on onions raw, but I can always turn up a few (or more) in a crock or bowl somewhere. And well, the wine, well, that goes without saying.

The one caveat to this recipe: your house will smell incredible. Dangerously incredible. Like, you might just find yourself salivating over a tea towel or licking the walls. In fact, your whole neighborhood may smell incredible. I kid you not, a few years ago I made this and a strange man knocked on my door asking if he could come inside and eat whatever it was I was cooking. Before I had the sense to register that this was creepy as heck, I actually began relaying the recipe to him and asking if he was a fan of Julia Child. Yep, I never said I was the sharpest knife in your kitchen, but...

Anyway, enjoy this classic. But don't open your door to strangers.

French Onion Soup

6 onions (I used a few red onions and mostly yellow), chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter (Trickling Springs pastured butter is awesome here)
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup dry red wine
1 carton beef broth (although homemade would be about 100 times better!)
2 bay leaves
1 french baguette -- a bit stale (I used half of the Lyon bakery one I get in my weekly delivery), toasted and cut into rounds
1 8 ounce block of Gruyere cheese, shredded
parsley, for garnish

First, caramelize your onions. I don't know if I do this the proper way, but it tastes great, so good to me! Anywho...melt the butter in a heavy Dutch oven, throw in the onions and toss with the sugar. Then, on medium high heat, let the onions cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don't worry if there is some flaky brown stuff at the bottom of the pan, as long as it's not smoking or burnt, this is actually what you want. By the end, the onions will be very reduced. At this point, toss in your garlic and saute for a few more minutes until the garlic is browned as well. Next, add in your wine, scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine is almost all absorbed, add in your beef broth, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or more.

When you're ready to serve, ladle the soup into an oven safe bowl, pop in a few baguette rounds, and top with cheese and parsley. Put the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is melted and brown.