Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mmmmmm Soup

Who else is happy the election is over? No more irritating phone calls and piles of junk mail. It's enough to make a person break out in song. Just be glad I haven't figured out how to put those little audio bars on the blog yet or I'd sing you a diddy.


Well, with the cold and rainy weather having settled into the Pacific northwest, comfort food has begun to once again take on its seasonal appeal. I hadn't made a pot of French onion soup in years, but for some reason it just sounded right. It's really easy to make and doesn't cost very much either. (except for the cheese if you opt for the good stuff)

I don't know that I've ever actually measured the ingredients for this, but I'll give you the amounts as close to what I can remember. Keep in mind that a little more or less of any component can be left to personal taste or preference.

4 or 5 large yellow onions
2 T. cooking oil
4 quarts chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste
1½ T. tomato paste
1 pkg Holland Rusk
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Notes about ingredients:

I highly recommend using homemade stock. The flavor is much richer, It isn't watery like the canned stuff, and it isn't pumped full of sodium.

If Maui or Walla-Walla sweet onions are available use them. If not regular yellow onions are just fine too.

Holland Rusk is a toasted bread round that is placed on top of the soup. If you can't find them in your super market, you can toast white bread in the oven till it's dry (remember to cut off the crust first)

Gruyere is an aromatic (code for stinky) type of cheese in the family of Swiss. It has a much deeper flavor than an ordinary Swiss. The down side to it, is it is kind of spendy. If you can't find it or you just want to save a couple of bucks, sub in Swiss.

OK, how to prepare it:

Cut the onions in half, peel and slice them into thin strips (half rounds). Place the oil and onions into a stainless steel stock pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Cook over medium heat until the onions are dark golden brown. (This is called caramelizing them) Separately, bring the stock to a boil and strain off any fat from the surface. Once the onions are caramelized, add the stock to them. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato paste. Simmer for another 15 minutes or so.

To serve:

Ladle into individual oven proof soup bowls. Place a Holland Rusk on top of soup. Sprinkle some cheese on top of Rusk then place under the broiler to melt the cheese. Watch closely as it only takes about a minute to go from melted and bubbly to burnt and nasty! Grab a spoon and enjoy. Remember the cheese is like molten lava when it first comes out of the oven, so be warned and don't burn the roof of your mouth on it.

As mom would say. . .try it, you'll like it.


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I can feel the chill in the air here too. It rained like the dickens last Saturday. We so needed it too.

The soup sounds heavenly. Yes, comfort foods are finding their way to our table as well.

Have a great evening. :)

Kay said...

Sounds good... if only I could muster up the energy to actually cook.....

Dana said...

One of my favorite things about fall/winter is the return to soup season! I'll have to try this one Jeff!

Ron said...


This looks HEAVENLY Jeff!

Absolutely scrumptous!

Ya know, I was just thinking about all the wonderful foods that are especially YUMMY this time of the year, and soups and stews are my FAVS!


We've been having the same kind of weather here too. However, the temperatures are rather high for this time of year. I hear that Friday it'll be back in the 70's!!! And as you know...I like it COLD...damn it!!

Oh'll be here soon!

Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe, buddy!

And I can tell from the's delicious!

Later gator!

Jeni said...

I'm not usually that much of a soup fan, but I have to say this I dearly LOVE French Onion Soup! I've never attempted making it, mainly because I am the only one here who would eat it -daughter Mandy hates onions, cooked or raw, unless they are so finely chopped and cooked up in something that she doesn't notice biting into them. So, that would be a lot of soup for me to eat by myself but I may go on a tangent some day and make some, who knows! Really, the only soups I like are tomato, homemade potato soup, New England clam chowder, Oyster stew and cheese/broccoli and ham and bean soup. I'll eat other varieties but am not a big fan of most of em. Ham/bean never seems to turn out right for me so I rarely make it, but the cheese/broccoli, I did have a really, really recipe for it -if I can locate it someplace in the depths of the cupboards, etc.

Jeff B said...

Sandee- By my calculations we only have about six or seven months left of the rainy season. Arrrgh!

Kay- That would definitely be a good start.

Dana- Simple ingredients with a fantastic flavor.

Ron- "Lots of bread and butter" makes me think of stew. They seem to go perfectly together don't they?

Jeni- You can always cut the recipe in half or even a quarter if you like. You can even put some in the freezer for another day if you like.

Travis said...

Although I am glad that the election is over, I'm also ready to get to work.

I've been thinking about soup recently, but I prefer mine out of a can.

Dianne said...

cheese like molten lava - you're good!

looks yummy.

Jay said...

Looks like some yummy soup.

Best thing about cold weather is all the great comfort foods and soups and stews.

Anonymous said...

I can personally attest to the fact that Jeff's French onion soup is some of the best stuff to ever hit your mouth because the dear boy sacrificed and brought over enough for our dinner last night. Actually, I think he was just trying to get me to side with him in what, no doubt, will be a real war of words between he and brother Gene . . . but what the heck, I can be bought. I'm not a huge soup fan myself, but DANG that stuff was to die for. So, for those of you who love soup (and even for those of you who are kind of iffy about it), I highly recommend you try this recipe. Thanks for sharing it with your readers, Jeff, and thanks again for a really, really yummy dinner last night.


katherine. said...

my mouth is watering...I enjoy soup...but love cheese even more!

nice way to win your mom over to your side.

as for you bursting into song....will you please sing "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music?"...please...pretty please...with sugar on top....???

Mel said...

<-- hangin' around for the singing

But oh my gosh.....the soup sounds absolutely wonderful!

Thinkin' I'll take that recipe and hand it over to himself to make for his next club meeting.


<-- waiting for the singing

B. Roan said...

It will be downright cold here this weekend. Perfect temps for soup. Onion soup is one of my favorites. Hubby will be hanging out in a deer stand most of the day, so perhaps I'll give your recipe a try. Thanks for sharing. BJ

buffalodick said...

A simple soup, but one of my favorites! I live in the land of Rusk, but never thought to use it instead of croutons!

Jeff B said...

Travis- I think many of us fit that bill of being ready to get to work. . . or at least I hope so.

Did you really say out of a can? Blaspheme!

Dianne- If you've ever eaten a piece of pizza when it's too hot, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Jay- I would even go as far as to say it's the only good thing about cold weather!

Mom- Ha, I knew my evil plan would work! I think I'll include the soup in our Thanksgiving dinner menu this year.

Katherine- I knew someone would have to mention that, that, that SONG!!! Figured it would be either you or Anndi that would do it.

Mel- Be careful what you ask for...(clears throat)

B Roan- It's hard to go wrong with this one. It really does hit the spot on a cold, rainy day.

Buffalo- I learned that trick back in my restaurant days. They work great and are just the right size too.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Mmmm...that's one of my favorites! Thanks for the recipe!

Starrlight said...

Oh my god that looks SO GOOD!

Raven said...

Oooo... soup sounds good. Yummm. Makes me warmer just reading about it. It is a gray day here. Not as cold as it might be but damp so it feels cold. Thanks for your comment over at my nest. I left you a reply.

Sandi McBride said...

That sounds so good, Jeff! You had me from onions...

Cherie said...

Oh so glad that the election season is over!

And though I'm not a big fan of onions, I do love any excuse for some nice stringy cheese. Yum! :)

Akelamalu said...

I love making and eating home made soup especially with chunky pieces of home made bread! Yummy. :)

Bond said...


I did a big ole pot of Split Pea with ham recently and have been savoring that!

maryt/theteach said...

Whoa, Jeff! Yum! That onion soup is just like I like it! Thanks for commenting on my Obama post! Yea! He won! :)

Jeff B said...

Real LL- Tell me how it turns out.

Starr- It was as good as it looks too, if I may so bold as to toot my own horn.

Raven- It's actually 60ยบ and raining today. Warm for this time of year.

I just read your response and am glad to have had that discussion with you. Thanks

Sandi- Now I know your soft spot.

Cheri- Some might say the soup is just a vehicle for the cheese!

Akelamalu- Homemade can't be beat. (sorry Travis)

Bond- That's one of my favorites.

Mary- Your welcome, and I am also excited about the possibilities Obama bring to this country.

Starrlight said...

HUSH! I love French Onion so much I could swim in it.

Jeff B said...

Starr- Now that would be worth the price of admission right there!

david mcmahon said...

Bit too warm for soups here in Oz. I did a BBQ yesterday - was hoping you'd be there!

Jeff B said...

David- A BBQ, warm weather and good company. . . I wish I was there too.

CrazyCath said...

Jeff, you are hereby invited imMEDiately chez CrazyCath to cook that stuff for her and her family. And anything else you want to cook.

Bring the Mrs. (of course). We'll have a ball!

Desert Songbird said...

How in the world would you think to use Dutch rusk in that soup? Brilliant!

Dr.John said...

I think I'll pass on this one.

Jeff B said...

Crazycath- Sounds like a grand time!

Songbird- Actually I didn't. A chef I worked for about twenty years ago came up with it and it just stuck.

Dr John- Not you cup of tea...umm soup eh?

Rhea said...

Looks delicious! I thought your title line said SOAP, not soup. And I thought you were giving us ingredients how to make our own soap.

Who knew Jeff was so crafty, I thought! lol

Glad it's soup instead.

Jeff B said...

Rhea- Bwhahahahahaha

Ya, it's soap, but you end up smelling like onions every time you use it!


Hilary said...

That sounds absolutely delicious. I haven't had French onion soup in years and I've not made any in decades. Time to remedy that.

Mags said...

MMMmmmmmMMMM!!! That soup looks fantastic! I love French Onion Soup-especially homemade.

leelee said...

Hi Jeff,

Well its 86 here...but if I turn the AC down real cold, I can pretend its soup weather.. I am def going to try this recipe...YUMM-O!


Anndi said...

That is one of my all-time favourite soups!

Why you would think I'd mention songs from the musical that makes your giant ears bleed is beyond me *giggle*

I actually want you to sing the Banana Boat song... :)

Starting to regret wanting a kid sister yet?

Jeff B said...

Hilary- It's perfect for the cooler weather this time of year.

Mags- Homemade is the only way to fly. We always have some stock on hand in the freezer for just such an occasion.

Leelee- Long time no see! 86...Yikes! Better wait till the temp cools a bit to really enjoy this one.

Anndi- You've been at Gene's haven't you? I always knew little sisters were brats, now you've confirmed it.

nitebyrd said...

I love onion soup but never made it. Yours looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe!