An Adventure With French Onion Soup

| 6/26/2012 9:46:09 AM

French Onion Soup au Gratin

I had an unexpected adventure with French Onion Soup this week.  My family and I love French Onion Soup au Gratin. I make it from scratch occasionally, and then I watch the vultures descend. Always with crusty French bread baguette on the side. Here’s how the scenario unfolded:  I had made my usual soup from scratch and was having a conversation with a Registered Dietician, and I told her the only carbs you would have to worry about was those essentially from the French bread. Now this lady is very smart, one of the best (actually the best) dieticians I’ve ever met. Still, she didn’t believe me. She was sure that I had to have had more carbs in there than I claimed. (We foodies do get into some strange arguments.) I couldn’t, and still don’t, understand what I was supposed to do to get those carbs in there. Isn’t this soup mostly broth? Then I explained how I made the soup. She had sort of an incredulous look on her face as I described the method. I quipped I could be the Pioneer Lady, but that didn’t go over well. Suddenly, her face lit up, and she said, “I buy that.” So without further adieu, here is my recipe for French Onion Soup au Gratin. Oh, better get yourself some beef bones from your local butcher. I get mine whenever I have a freezer order. It might be easiest to start this the day before you plan to have the soup, to make the broth first.



3-4 pounds beef bones4-6 tablespoons butter or olive oil (butter is more authentic), divided 
2 bay leaves 
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence, or similar blend 
1-2 pounds yellow onions, depending on how “onion-y” you want it 
Salt to taste 
Small rounds of toasted, 1/2-inch, sliced French bread baguette or croutonsSeveral slices of either mozzarella or Swiss cheese, whichever you like better1-2 baguettes  


I use 2 large pots when I do this, so that the bones can sauté in an uncrowded manner. Yes, you heard me right, sauté. Divvy up your bones in half, one half per pot. Put just enough butter or oil to keep them from sticking, and sauté until bones turn brown, turning to keep browning on the sides. Now, you can skip the sautéing, but you won’t have as good flavor, which is what we’re after here.

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