French Onion Soup with Blue Cheese

So, I am back from vacations! If you didn’t see on Instagram, I headed to lovely France. So, when I got back and figured out the cold is officially around here, I felt really inspired by Paris and its impressive flavors.

Besides this, our friends from Espacio Culinario, proposed a challenge on their Instagram: make soup from scratch. From scratch? Making absolutely everything in our recipe? Sounds amazing!!! Challenge more than accepted!

It can seems stupid or even a waste of time for some of you. Why making soup from scratch when you can buy it ready? Or using one of those packages, add water and ready! Easy and rich dinner, no efforts. Or why waiting forever to have a broth if you can find them ready at the supermarket?

The answer is easy: health. Supermarket broths are highly processed and contain a lot of sodium. Soups in powder… what to talk about them? The process to dehydrate them makes that, in the end, they become anything but food. And even the ready ones, we never know what they have… preservatives? Artificial flavors? Are the vegetables truly fresh? Because of all this, the best you can do is knowing your food and how it is done. That way, you can offer to yourself and your family a rich, nutritious and healthy.

So, let’s begin by the broth, base for this delicious soup but also will be used in many many preparations. As it took hours to be done, my practical advice for you is: make tons of it and freeze it, as they will be perfect for up to 3 months. To make it easier, use ice cube trays, so you will have smaller portions to use in your daily meals.

Once you make the broths, you can use them for innumerous preparations: rice, pure, beans, risotto, pasta, sauces, marinades, soups… And without the guilty for eating too much sodium or chemicals!

Well… done with the broths, let`s move to the soup! I chose a French Onion Soup, a classic with a twist: blue cheese.

To make a good onion soup, you will need two things: time and patience. That’s because the onions need to caramelize, flavors need to mix and, finally, you need to have a gratin. But, you if have these two fundamental ingredients, I guarantee you will have the best onion soup of your life! Rich, deep, aromatic, sweet, special…

So rush to get the ingredients and be prepared to have all bistrot aromas in your house. More than never: bon appétit!

Onion Soup

French Onion Soup with Roquefort

Adapted from the marvelous book New Flavors for Soups – Classic Recipes Redefined, Williams-Sonoma
Serves 4

6 tbsp unsalted butter

2 pounds white onions

1 1/3 cup of water

2/3 cup of white wine

3 springs of fresh thyme

2 small bay leaves

3 springs of fresh parsley

3 cups of chicken stock

2 cups of beef stock

Salt and black pepper

1 baguette

6 oz. blue cheese (a strong one)

1 cup of grate gruyère cheese (optional)

Peel the onions, cut in half and, then, slice them. In a heavy pot with a lid (Dutch oven, for example), melt 3 tablespoons of butter and, then, put the onions, mixing well so the butter can cover them. Add a teaspoon of salt. Cook them in medium-high heat, until they are browned and caramelized. This process will take about 45 minutes. Stir it often, so the onion won’t burn, but be aware that the bottom of your pot will be browned. That is desired.

When onions are browned, raise the heat to medium-high and start adding the water, 1/3 cup at a time, scraping the bottom of the pot. Once the water is absorbed, repeat the process and keep doing it until all the water has been used.

Time to add the wine. Let it cook until it has been reduced in half, about 4 minutes. Add the broths, herbs, and a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil, in high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let it cooking for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven at 425 degrees. Cut the bread in diagonal slices, about 2 fingers thick. You will need 8 slices in total. Toast them in the oven until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, crumble the blue cheese and mix it with 2 tablespoons of butter. Spread each bread slice with this butter and set aside.

Back to the soup, remove the herbs, add 1 tablespoon of butter and mix vigorously. Taste the soup and adjust salt and pepper (but remember you will have it with cheese, so easy on salt, ok?). Ladle it into 4 bowls (which can go to the oven and to the table), put the gruyère cheese (if desired) and, on top of it, place 2 toasts in each bowl. Place the bowls in a pan and, carefully, put in the oven, on the highest part or using the broiler. When cheeses are golden, serve right away with a good red wine!

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