A Tutorial: How to Make French Onion Soup Completely NOT according to the Recipe
Verdict: Decent. Not the best ever, but some of that’s my fault.
Cook it again: Tough call. On the one hand, I want to try to redeem myself, but on the other hand, I have since discovered another recipe I like better. So, maybe.
Cost Factor: Gruyere and French bread are the only two things not always already in the house, so not bad. The next biggest expenses are onions and broth.
First of all, I love French Onion Soup. And then, B, I own an inordinate amount of ramekins. And yet, I’ve never made French Onion Soup (well, other than pouring Lipton mix into a tub of sour cream, if that counts)*, because I always thought it would be too much work.
Not quite true … but I did manage to make this recipe more complicated than necessary. Here’s how to repeat my stellar performance:
First of all, when the recipe calls for chopping six onions, try to buy a particularly potent batch. Make sure that these particular onions make you cry so hard, and make your nose run so much, and make it so that all told, you have such trouble breathing from the stinkin’ onions that when your mom calls, she thinks something is dreadfully wrong.
Then, punt and chop only three small ones instead of the six the recipe calls for. (Because you're in agony and can't bear it any longer, of course.)
Next, follow the directions about cooking them on the stovetop, and pause to be pleased with yourself, and eventually put them in the oven for two hours as the recipe says.
Open some windows, because you’re still crying and ... oh! the burning eyes! The burning eyes!
Peek at the onions, which are supposed to be browning in a dutch oven with the lid ajar. Refer to the PW blog and see that her pot lid is off-center by about an inch, so crack yours about half an inch.
Wait 30 minutes and check on your onions. Decide that there’s no browning happening and crack the lid a little more. Proceed to burn the onions to charred little crisps.
Decide that you’re working with damn burnt onions because this recipe has a lot of steps and you’re not starting over – especially since that would mean chopping more onions.
Follow the directions to add the wine, and the garlic, and the broths, praying that they "reconstitute" some of the blackened fossilized onions, and add some Worcestershire.
Forget that you don’t really like the underlying taste of Worcestershire in soup and oh, what the hell, add a little extra accidentally.
In the meantime, butter the bread for the broiler. Since you’ve never used a broiler before, be sure to char it within three minutes. Call your husband and have him cut the edges off and try to salvage the bread for the ramekins because you don’t have any extra bread in the house.
Ladle soup into the ramekins, and then layer with the broiled bread and cheese. Throw them in the broiler again until the cheese bubbles, call it a meal, and eat.
Just a little too …
* -- point of fact, I've since made other recipes, which is why I say this recipe isn't my favorite.