After a full day hanging about in airports—due to my own volition and giving up my seat on two flights for others who had major connections to make overseas—oh, and the travel vouchers they dangled in front of my nose—I’m home.
Before I left for Mixed Conference I had the best of intentions to get this recipe up and out the door—aka in the blog queue—before I left for the event. It just didn’t happen. And so here we are.
Meeting and spending time with my fellow speakers was a highlight of the trip.
The absolutely charming Bree of Baked Bree showed her graceful and unguarded style in such friendly conversation it felt we’d known each other since high school; Self-deprecating videographer Lenny’s one-liners were the perfect pairing to the calm and collected sensibility of his partner Denise, the photographer and voice of Chez Us, both of whom I felt an instant connection; Always gracious and incredibly talented Marian of Sweetopia made it her mission to make sure each and every person down to the breakfast server feel special and welcome while quick witted stylist extraordinaire Tammy of Running With Tweezers readily shared her fountain of reality based knowledge and deftly saved the day as the keeper of the wine key.
If you aren’t following their blogs, do it. You can thank me later.
Beyond that, it was the enthusiasm that emanated from the youthful group of bloggers that drew me in. This wasn’t a conference where groups become silos, loping off to seclude themselves from the others. This was a very intimate, very involved group who were there to learn not really from us, the speakers, but fron one another. And it was infectious.
I was probably 11 or 12 the first time I had French Onion soup. Whenever my mom would take me to Salt Lake City to shop, we’d go to Trolley Square and always have lunch at The Pub, now known as Desert Edge Brewery. I thought I was so grown up since half of the restaurant was open to kids, the other half adults only. I was soooo walking the thin line of tweendom and adulthood, and it felt soooo good.
The only other version that has ever compared was a French Onion that was the most amazingly rich veal stock in all the right ways, simmered for hours to create its amazing depth. It was served at a little, tiny spot right off of the Venice boardwalk called 5 Dudley. I still remember peeling the cheese off of the side of the little white tureen and diving for any remnants of onion bits to be had.
I’ve been making this soup a lot of late. It’s so easy to pull together yet so fulfilling it’s an obvious no-brainer when I’m delivering it for a friend or simply stumped about what’s going on the table that night. Especially when I’m not in the mood, nor have much time to get in the kitchen and as Bree says, “Get in it’s business.”
For me there are three keys to the success of this soup. 1. A onion combo of sweet vidalia, yellow onion and leeks that have been sautéed to become a jammy concoction. 2. Fresh thyme. 3. Nutty gruyere on hearty bread.
Besides serving the soup with floating slices of bread, I like to create bite size croutons for maximum popability. If there end up being any left once I’m done sampling. Quality control right?
Easy French Onion Soup with Cheesy Croutons
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 pounds sweet Vidalia onions sliced
- 1 pound yellow onions sliced
- 2 leeks cleaned and white parts only, sliced
- 32 ounces beef stock
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs thyme leaves
- ⅓ cup red wine
- kosher salt
- ½ baguette cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 cup grated gruyere or farm cheese
- thyme leaves for garnish
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, melt butter and canola oil together over medium-high heat and add onions. Season with kosher salt and stir to coat onions with butter and oil. Cook stirring frequently for 30 minutes or until onions are soft, golden brown and syrupy and the bottom of the pan has browned bits.
Add the beef and chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, red wine and season with salt. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, scraping browned bits from bottom of pot. Discard herbs.
Group baguette chunks closely on a baking sheet lined with foil. Top with grated cheese and broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Ladle soup in a bowl, top with cheese croutons and ladle a bit more juice on top. Garnish with thyme leaves and serve.
adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook
Not all soups translate to other recipes that don’t call for saltines, but this list is sure to please anyone looking for an appetizer to a main onion treat to eat.
Adam and Cheryl use a French cooking technique to get the ultimate juicy burger with slow cooked onions in Picture Perfect Meals French Bistro Burger with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Holidays become holidaze if you don’t have a few appetizers up your sleeve to make everyone happy like Kristin’s French Onion Soup Potstickers from Iowa Girl Eats
Not many can put a spin on a recipe like Ree, just like she does here with Pioneer Woman’s French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms
Oh yes, Steph takes it there to create I Am a Food Blog’s mini cup version of French Onion Mac and Cheese Muffins
Who says vegans can’t still eat gooey dishes? Coconut milk and tapioca flour contribute to Erin’s fusion of Olives for Dinner’s Vegan French Onion Soup Sandwich
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