Saturday, October 8, 2011

Freezer Cooking Friday (late): French Onion Soup

As far as I'm concerned, fall is soup season and winter more so!  So, what better way to beat the darkness "blahs" then to make yourself a bunch of soups and freeze them for quick dinners later?  Just make some up, cool and stick into freezer bags and store flat in your freezer until frozen.  You'd be AMAZED how many soups you can stack flat.

French Onion Soup   
(adapted from a recipe found in "Fix, Freeze, Take and Bake")

  • 3 T. Butter or non-dairy butter alternative (I used Country Crock just because I have a HUGE container to use up)
  • 5 Medium Onions, thinly sliced (I used onions I had frozen in the freezer and just used diced onions...I'm not big on thin slices)
  • 1 T. Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Thyme (try to use the powdered stuff because it makes the soup cloudy, but you won't have herby chunky bits floating in your soup.  If you don't care about aesthetics, don't worry about it).
  • 2 T. Cooking Sherry or a good tasting white wine (if in a pinch or don't drink or use wine in cooking you could add about 1 tablespoon, I'd say, of white wine vinegar)
  • 3 3/4 cups beef stock (I used home made, but you could use whatever brand you like, OR use 4 beef bouillon cubes and 3 3/4 cups of water)
Here's my method and it goes against pretty much all others I've read, but darn it I'm lazy!  Melt your butter and brown sugar over medium heat in a medium sized sauce pan and then add your onions.  Cook for about 15 want to cook the onions and get that sugary taste in there (this is a quick cheat so you don't have to cook the onions for hours to get that sweet taste to them).  REMOVE the pan from the heat (to avoid flame ups) momentarily  and add your wine and thyme to the mixture.  Return to heat.  Cook for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol and then add your beef stock/bouillon cube mixture.  Return to heat and heat it all through (at least that's what I do.  Most recipes call for you to freeze it RIGHT then, but I want my flavors to meld better than that).  Let cool and place in freezer bags.  Freeze flat.

To Prepare for Serving:

Defrost your soup beforehand (it doesn't defrost too well in the microwave due to the sugar in it, so please for the sake of your microwave and patience do this the old fashioned way.  If you place it on your counter this stuff will be defrosted within an hour or so :).  Place in saucepan on stove and heat over low heat until heated through or do like I do and just place in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 1 minute 30 seconds to get it nice and hot (mind you I have a POWERFUL microwave, so times on microwaves will vary here).

I also go against the grain when it comes to my cheese toast here.  Traditionally you make a piece of cheese toast that will go over the entire bowl of soup, place under a broiler to brown the cheese and then consume.  Once again, I'm lazy.  I just use some Swiss cheese and my favorite bread and place it in my toaster oven to melt the cheese and crisp the bread (you could also use your broiler for this if you don't have a toaster oven).  Then I just put the cheese toast in my bowl of soup, wait a few minutes for the broth to absorb into said toast and consume.  Yum!!!

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