Stormy Weather and Hot French Onion Soup

The first rule of hurricane coverage is that every broadcast must begin with palm trees bending in the wind.
Carl Hiaasen
and stupid weather reporters staging themselves in the worst of the conditions for their moments in the limelight…

French Tomato SoupWith a storm bearing down on us there is not much than can be done about it, but ride it out as comfortably as one can.  I have a few projects waiting to be completed no time like the present, but first we dine.

While the time spent making a great French onion/Lyonnaise style and lets face it, caramelizing onions does take a bit of time and care so as not to burn the onions whether you caramelize stove top or in the Instant Pot, just part of the process for a homey bowl of hot onion soup, but the actual soup cooking time is 6 minutes.  I love the Lyonnaise version that I have made pretty much the Jacques Pepin version for the most part, but often without the egg and port, confused yet, I like to top my soup with the crouton slices or cubes, top with loads of cheese and baked.  So if you are in the mood for a change try Jacques way…

Make your croutons ahead of time, slice thick slices of French bread, grill or toast in a pan and rub each hot slice with cloves of garlic. Set aside and grate a nice amount of Gruyère and Emmental, about 3/4 of a pound for 3-4 bowls f soup.

Of course you can make quick work things for my version , buy pre sliced onions (5 medium sweet) 1 – 1 1/2 cups sliced or chopped mushrooms, the remainder of the ingredients  for today’s version I used what I had:  2 small bay leaves and several sprigs of thyme (both removed at serving ), a bit of salt, pepper, 3/4 cup white wine or Vermouth, 4 cups of chicken stock and one packet of concentrated vegetable stock, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of fine EVOO-Sicilian was my choice and about 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Have some extra broth on had if you need to thin your soup…2 tablespoons of flour.

Caramelize the onions, about 4 minutes before the onions are done, add the mushrooms to soften and if you are lucky the will brown a little, deglaze with white wine, cook for a couple of minutes to reduce, whisk in the flour to thicken and pour in the chicken stock, vegetable broth packet, herbs, season with salt and pepper.  Stove top simmer for 30 minutes or cook under pressure for 6 minutes in the Instant Pot.  Preheat oven to 400º…

Jacques puts the finished soup through a food mill, I don’t stringy sweet onions are the best part, some being real chin slappers.  Place oven proof bowls on a sheet pan, top with crouton and pile on the cheese.

“Sprinkle 1/2 cup of grated cheeses on top of the onion soup in each bowl, making sure that it not only covers the soup, but also touches the entire inside edge of each bowl, so that it will adhere to the edge as it melts during cooking.”

“Tip: For an onion soup not to collapse, the soup bowl has to be filled to the rim with the onion soup and the bread. The cheese layer should cover the whole surface, so it will stick to the sides and corm a crust that holds its shape and doesn’t sink.  Bake for 20 minutes hopefully the cheese will be golden ( for a little more brownies on the cheese tun on the broiler for a minute or two) and of course the soup will be piping hot when you take it out of the oven…you might consider serving the hot bowls on another plate…enjoy!”