They are so deliciously French…
If you had the forethought to plant onions this past spring, you are one of the fortunate folks who has the pleasure of harvesting those beautiful, mature, end-of-summer delights from the garden! Onions are good for you; they store well, and they’re a staple ingredient in many fabulous dishes.
But even if you’re not pulling onions from the dirt outside your house, there are ample supplies at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Just look for naturally-grown or USDA organic onions that are herbacide- and pesticide-free. If you are harvesting your own onions from the garden, be sure to let them dry out properly before storing. The National Gardening Association has some great information about harvesting and storing your own onions.
Around this time of year, my family gets a hankering for a dish that, in 18th century France, was considered “food for the poor.” Onions are plentiful and easy to grow. It only made sense that the French, who can take just about anything and make it taste wonderful with butter, would fashion a soup that would endure through the ages. Soupe à l’oignon, or French Onion Soup as it has come to be known, can be made with just a few ingredients, or enough to fill an entire recipe card. The secret to the perfect onion soup is how slowly and thoughtfully the onions are cooked. Carmelization — the slow-cooking of onions in olive oil or butter to draw out the onions’ complex sugars — is an important step. Some recipes call for 30 minutes of cook time; others require hours. Our recipe is a happy medium between those two. And every time we serve this dish at Valley Green, it receives rave reviews.
So without further ado, I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe for Valley Green Farm’s French Onion Soup!
1 1/2 stick organic butter
4 lbs organic yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp organic sugar
1 Tbsp flour
2 cups Chardonnay wine
64 oz. organic chicken broth or stock
1 tsp black pepper
1 loaf French bread, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces
1/2 stick organic butter
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 Tbsp Grey Poupon or good Dijon mustard
2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
1. Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter in large pot. Add onions and stir to coat well with butter. Cook over medium-low heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions begin to soften.
2. Reduce heat to very low. Add 1 cup wine. Stir in thyme. Cover pot and cook onions about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are very soft.
TIP: The key to success with this soup is to cook the onions slowly. Cooking too quickly can cause soup to be bitter. Use very low heat.)
3. Uncover pot and increase heat slightly. Stir in sugar, flour and remaining wine, and cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered. Add chicken broth (or stock) and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes uncovered. Soup should be bubbling lightly.
4. Reduce heat to low again. Cover pot and let simmer (very low) for 25-30 more minutes. Stir every 5 minutes.
5. Heat oven broiler. Melt 1/2 stick butter in dish in microwave. Add garlic salt to melted butter and mix well. Place French bread slices on cookie sheet and brush the tops of each with your melted garlic butter. Place under broiler for 1 minute or less to toast VERY lightly.
6. Remove your croutes from the oven and brush each piece lightly with Grey Poupon or Dijon mustard. Sprinkle each piece with Gruyere cheese and place under broiler again. (Reserve remaining Gruyere cheese for soup topping.) Toast croutes approximately 1 minute or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove croutes from oven and place 2-3 in the bottom of each soup bowl.
7. Ladle French Onion Soup into bowls. Float 3-4 more croutes in each soup, and sprinkle each bowl with a generous amount of Gruyere cheese.
Makes approximately 8 servings.
This soup is wonderful when re-heated! Store your croutes and gruyere cheese separately in the refrigerator. Reheat soup on stove; drop croutes into hot soup and top with gruyere cheese, and you’re ready to go!
In the words of Julia Child,
And the hard-working Team at Valley Green