Perfect Pairing: French Onion Soup and Gewürztraminer
October 19, 2012 4 Comments
My last post – The Gewürztraminer Cheat Sheet - had me thinking about food pairings with Gewürz, which always leads me straight to French Onion Soup. I rarely make soup at home as my anh (adorable new husband) has a sort of primordial dislike of soup as a meal or even a starter course, as if it somehow pre-empts genuine sustenance. French Onion Soup is one of the few he can abide, and certainly a dish we can agree on.
Obviously, with all this talk of French Onion Soup (and the accompanying Gewürztraminer), I just have to make it for dinner tonight, so thought I’d share my recipe with you.
There’s one rather odd caveat about this version of the soup. When we first got married and were still trying to figure out how to care for and feed each other, the anh mentioned he loved French Onion Soup but hated how hard it was to eat. I had to agreed that I had been put off by stringy versions myself, so this recipe is custom-designed to avoid crouton-cracking splashes and stringy cheese arm-stretches. I used to think such accommodations were silly, but as a Chef Instructor one of the things I have learned to teach my students is that a fanciful presentation or even delicious flavor cannot make a customer enjoy a dish that is awkward to eat.
- 1 pound White Onions, large dice
- 1 pound Sweet Onions, large dice
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 T. Butter
- 2 T. Olive Oil (plus more Olive Oil or Olive Oil spray for croutons)
- 1 t. Sugar
- 1 – 2 t. Salt, or to taste
- 1 T. Flour
- 1 t. Dried Thyme (or Oregano)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1/2 cup Dry White Wine (By all means, you should use Gewürztraminer if possible)
- 4 cups Beef Stock
- 1 1/2 cups Water
- 1/2 t. Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
- 1/2 Loaf of Italian Bread or Baguette
- 1/2 cup finely grated Gruyère Cheese
- 4 T. Grated Parmesan Cheese
Makes four appetizer, or two main course, servings.
1. First of all, make the croutons without too much drama. I like to cut the bread into one-inch cubes – that’s part of the “easy to eat” platform. Simply spray (or toss) them with olive oil, place on a flat cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Give them a quick toss, and continue baking until they are golden brown. After they cool, wrap them in several layers of aluminum foil. They will keep indefinitely.
2. For the non-string-inducing cheese topping: Mix the finely grated Gruyère with the finely grated Parmesan, set aside.
3. In a large stock pot, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onions and season with 1 – 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then stir. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes at low heat. Add the garlic. Continue to cook the onion/garlic mixture for 40 minutes or longer, stopping to stir the mixture and check for browning every 10 minutes. Cook until they onions are very soft and a deep golden brown.
4. Add the flour, thyme or oregano, bay leaves, and pepper. Stir over medium-high heat for two minutes.
5. Add the wine, stock, and water. Stir until the mixture simmers, then allow to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Check back and stir the mixture every 10 minutes.
7. When ready to serve, heat the soup to a simmer and divide among two or four bowls. Spread a pile of croutons out over each bowl, and top with your finely grated cheese mixture. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and serve your “easy to eat, non-string-inducing” delicious French Onion Soup with a chilled glass of Gewürztraminer. Enjoy!
The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas