Have you ever been to a restaurant where you ordered a dish that was so incredible that it left you thinking about it all the time? I have, more times than I can count. Recently, I had a bowl of french onion soup at Bistro Francais that totally blew my mind. After returning home in a state of total cheese and onion overload, and I mean that in the best way possible, I knew I had to make a choice. I could continue to frequent this restaurant as much as humanly possible or I could try to recreate this delicious concoction at home. Since driving into DC every time I crave this little bowl of heaven would be a little ridiculous, I decided to try my hand at recreating Bistro Francais’ french onion soup at home. And after many attempts I finally came up with something that almost compares and something you most definitely should try. (recipe below)
Ingredients (serves 6+)
1/2 cup butter
4 onion white onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of decent red wine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth or beef bullion
1 loaf of french bread, sliced
1/2 pound grated gruyere cheese
6 slices swiss cheese
6 slices provolone cheese
Melt one stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Chop and add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper into the pot and cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, this should take about 20 minutes. Pour in one cup of wine and bring it to a boil, then pour yourself a glass because every good chef has to try the ingredients first. Reduce the heat once the wine is boiling and then simmer until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are translucent, this should take around 5 minutes. Fish out the bay leaves and discard them. Whisk in the flour and stir until you have created a thick roux. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for another five minutes. Then add the beef broth or bullion and bring the soup up to a simmer. Let the ingredients marry and cook for at least another 10 minutes and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat your broiler and slice the french bread into 6 pieces. Toast the bread on its own until slightly golden. Take the toasted bread out of the oven and place the toasted pieces on top of the bowls filled with the onion soup mix. Then layer swiss cheese, provolone and shredded gruyere cheese on top. Place the bowls on a tray and put in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly. I found that pre-toasting the bread, helps keep its form better and doesn’t get as soggy in the soup but feel free to not pre-toast.
Dig in and enjoy!
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