Friday, November 26, 2010

BB: Onion & Fennel Soup Gratin

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!  Honestly, it is days like this that make me regret signing up for NaBoPoMo.  I have spent the day shopping and hanging out with family, and here it is 10:30 PM, and I've yet to write a blog post.  I would love to go sit on the couch and watch tv with Joey, but I am committed, darn it! 

So anyway, one of this month's Barefoot Bloggers recipes is an updated version of an old classic - French Onion Soup.  It is one of my favorite things to order in a restaurant.  I love the gooey, melty cheese, the bread, sweet onions, and flavorful broth.  But let's be honest:  the bread and the cheese are the best part.

This is a pretty standard recipe, it just replaces some of the onions with fennel.  I am actually not a huge fan of fennel, but I've decided that I like it if its cooked, but don't care for it raw.  In this soup, it just adds a bit of extra sweetness and a nice depth of flavor to add to the caramelized onions.  A perfect soup for the cold weather, and a great recipe to have in your repertoire. 

Onion and French Onion Soup Gratin
The Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?
serves 4 to 6
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 lbs Spanish onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 lbs fennel, tops and cores removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  •  1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 7-8 cups beef broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small sourdough or white French boule, crusts removed and sliced 1/2 in thick, toasted
  • 4 to 6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
Heat butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and fennel, and cook  over medium heat 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn golden-brown.

Add the sherry and brandy, scraping up the browned bits in the pan, and simmer uncovered about 5 minutes.  Add the broth, bay leaves, salt, and pepper,and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves and taste for seasoning.

Preheat the broiler and ladle the soup into heat-proof serving bowls.  Top with the toasted bread, sprinkle generously with grated cheese, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve hot.


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