It’s not my fault wine makes everything better.
Food, I mean.
Hey, what would you do if you acquired a bunch of booze you wouldn’t drink? So. Much. White Zinfandel. I just can’t. It’s too sweet. Or the rejected beer. It takes up space, people. So I’ve been thinking outside the bottle. Rice, vegetables, soups, bread. You’d be surprised how little other flavoring is needed when you add some wine or beer. Hey, it’s not exactly out of the ordinary. Remember?
When working at Creme Brulee, we supplemented some of our food. Whiskey in the flourless chocolate cake, sherry in the mushrooms, white wine in the French onion soup. We sold a lot of soup.
I decided to treat my sense of nostalgia, and my poor eyes, to an evening of cooking French onion soup. Doesn’t matter how fast you can slice onions, even with a mandolin slicer. Tears will happen. But I think I’m starting to develop a bit of immunity… Maybe.
And mess around with Henry’s camera.
Ponder your to-do list.
And when things get brown and sticky… (ew)
Add more wine to deglaze.
French Onion Soup for the Lush
about 2 lbs sweet onions (I used 2 and a quarter large)
a drizzle of olive oil
a few cups of white wine (zinfandel, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, etc.), depending on your taste
3 or more cups of well-flavored vegetable broth (depending on your preference of onion to broth ratio)
a few tablespoons of soy sauce or tamari
salt and pepper to taste
1) Slice the onions very thinly, preferably on a mandolin slicer. Seriously, you need one. Throw the onions into a large soup pot. Coat with the olive oil, and add 1-2 cups of the wine. The alcohol will cook out, and the natural sugars will help caramelize the onions, as well as impart the wine’s own delicate flavor. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions wilt and deepen in color. Stir occasionally.
2) When the liquid starts evaporating and onions are sticking to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with extra wine, or a flavored vinegar. Add the broth, soy sauce, salt and pepper. And simmer for 10-15 minutes. From here, adjust the flavors to your liking. You may want it slightly sweeter, more savory, etc. You can also add some choice herbs such as thyme or marjoram. But on its own this soup should be pretty rich in flavor.
You may be used to a French onion soup that is mostly salty beef broth while a comparatively small amount of onions swim around. This version, however, which is very similar to what we made at Creme Brulee, is abundant with sweet onions. The flavor is both smooth and bold. The texture is comforting. If you feel you need more liquid, go for it. (Pansy).
Of course, French onion is typically served smothered in cheese (Gruyere, Swiss, Provolone, etc.). I decided to go the vegan route this time. I had some seitan handy, so I pan fried that until slightly crisp. Add crusty bread, and voila.