Monday, December 19, 2011

Crock Pot French Onion Soup

I absolutely love onions.  They are far and away my favorite vegetable.  Onion praise to follow.  I have started a mini garden of green onions in my windowsill.  I learned on Pinterest that green onions regrow quite easily; simply cut off the portion you intend to use -- approximately 2-3" from the root -- and stick the root end in a glass of water covering approximately 1" of the onion.  Place in a windowsill, and voila.  They actually grow!  So exciting.  I change the water about every other day, and I also rinse off the root ends to keep my green kids happy.  Although green onions are quite divine, my onion passion truly lies in the sweet yellow variety.  I could, and usually do, add onions to nearly every meal I cook.  They are a powerhouse of antioxidant goodness.  Ellie Krieger taught me the antioxidants are let out once, and only when, you heat the onions.  So cook those babies!!  I guaran-damn-tee it that I will end up marrying an onion lover; if you don't love onions, you won't be dining in my life kitchen :)

Being an onion aficionado, it should come as no surprise that I have an open, healthy relationship with french onion soup.  I. Mean. Really.  Caramelized onions, broth, wine, bread, and cheese.....makes me feel like I need a cigarette just thinking about it.  (Not that I smoke, but you know what I mean).  I've dabbled with a few recipes within the past few years, and I order it frequently in restaurants.  Ls & Gs, not until tonight have I found the perfect french onion soup recipe.  It is absolutely mouth-watering, easy, and PERFECT.  Not to mention -- YOU MAKE IT IN YOUR CROCK POT.  It doesn't get better than what my taste buds just experienced, loves.

I tweaked the recipe I found a little bit, and I think all tweakings worked out for the absolute best.  The main difference in my soup is that I added a little bit of red wine.  Let's get real -- wine makes everything better.  Next time I will definitely buy taller, more round, bread (you'll see what I mean when you see the pic below).  I have learned this evening that it is very important, presentation-wise, to have a piece of bread that covers as much of the surface of the soup as possible; that way, the cheese stays on top and browns instead of sinking in the soup as mine did.  Regardless, the taste was to die for, and I will absolutely, positively be making this dish again.  Enjoy :)

Crock Pot French Onion Soup
Makes a giant pot, about 8-10 servings 
4 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 T butter, cut into approximately 6ish cubes
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T brown sugar
3 T flour
8 ounces of beer
58 ounces beef stock
6 ounces red wine
2 T fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t salt
french bread
gruyere cheese, grated

Set your crock pot on high.  Add the onions, garlic, brown sugar, butter, salt, and balsamic vinegar and mix until combined.  Cover and let cook for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are a bit caramely and brown on the edges.  Add the flour, stir thoroughly and let sit for 5 minutes .  Add beer, beef stock, wine, thyme, salt and pepper.  Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 6-8 hours (I cooked for 8).

Before serving, cut bread into approximately 1-1 1/2" slices.  Fill oven-proof soup bowls to the top, cover with a slice of bread, and sprinkle grated cheese over top.  Set under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.  Serve and enjoy!  (Watch yourself, bowls will be hot).