…aka, Angela’s Feels Fancy, But Fairly Feasible French Onion Soup!
This particular onion soup recipes calls for bacon. That’s the main reason my husband voted for it, I’m sure! We selected the soup impulsively from the internet’s deep blue sea of recipes, whilst loitering in the wine department of our grocery store. We might have looked odd, but my madness wasn’t without method! I’d been a good girl. I very deliberately planned ahead and dutifully typed all the necessary ingredients into my phone, (phone typing is one of those little things in life that I detest, but did it anyway) and of course, in true Angela-fashion, I immediately proceeded to head out the door sans phone. I never gave it a second thought…until we were circling the outer edges of the grocery store and Dave asked the all important question.
“Do you have everything you need for the soup? French onion, you said? I’m REALLY liking this idea!”
“Um. I left my phone at home, of course, so I’m not really sure…ummmm…I think so…almost. The top-rated recipe I saw called for a half a cup of Worsteshire sauce. That’s not gonna happen! Let me see… I have onions and butter from the farm, beef broth is on the stove, I had the spices and seasonings. The recipe I was looking at called for white wine? And maybe cognac?” Apologies to the French speakers of the world…I butchered the pronunciation.
“Cone-yak?” Dave made his best guess. “That’s a high end brandy made in France. I don’t think that’s in our budget!” He pointed silently at a price tag at the base of a fancy liquor bottles across the aisle.
“Oh! Yeeeaaahhh, we probably won’t be going there today. But I do know we need to get a white wine, French bread, and some kind of Swiss cheese with a strange-looking name. It started with a “g”. I’ll recognize it when I see it…”
Less than confident in my ability to correctly identify the proper cheese or maybe just genuinely fearful of the consequences of an uneducated choice (some of those cheeses could make a scared skunk cry uncle) my husband dug out his phone. “Why don’t we just look up the recipe now? Let’s see…allrecipes.com. They’re supposed to be good, right?”
“I think that’s where I looked last time…Ohhhh…this one has bacon in it!”
“That looks pretty darn good, actually. What do we need for that?”
“Bacon, of course, white wine, cooking sherry, French bread and Gruyere cheese. Gruyere! That’s the same cheese the other recipe called for, but it was Swiss. I don’t know what the difference is.”
Well, the sherry was nowhere to be found, so I decided to let the white wine do double duty and call it a day.
In the dairy area, the Swiss Gruyere cost nearly twice as much as its Apple Smoked Wisconsin counterpart, so we opted instead for the cheaper local variety. Bacon + smoked apple cheese + French onion soup made with white wine sounded like it had enough potential to blow the yum-o-meter sky-high…so we decided to give it a go!
Back in the kitchen, my first problem arose when I tried to open the wine. I’m not much of a drinker, although I do love the flavors wines add to dishes. Dave had just walk out the door, so I was on my own. A problem? No. “Never mind. It’s just a bottle of wine. I’m sure I can figure out how to open it!” I scoffed. “Easy enough.”
I twisted the corkscrew into the cork and pulled gently. No sense spraying wine every which way when the bottle burst open. Didn’t budge. I pulled harder. Not a thing. I sat down. Nope. Set the bottle on the floor between my feet and tugged with an upward motion. The dumb cork didn’t budge. Not even a millimeter. “Don’t care to contribute even the slightest sliver of hope to my wilting resolve, eh, Mr. Vino?” Nope. Not a chance. I smelled a bit of wine drifting through the air, but if anything, it was a taunt, a silent mocking giggle, as only wine can make before it is imbibed…or, before it is NOT consumed. Defeated. Defeated by a wine bottle. I had to put the whole process on hold for a few hours. I can’t believe I let a bottle of Barefoot California Chardonnay defeat me! Is there some trick I don’t know about? Hopefully. Next year, I’m asking Santa for one of those wine opener cranking devises!
But in the end, the soup was grand. Dave declared it one of the best things he’s ever eaten. Period. And he requested a photo to brag to his buddies about it. All in all, I’d call it quite a success! It was delicious! Try it!
The original recipe is available here, but the following variation of it is what actually emerged from my kitchen:
I’m calling it Angela’s Feels Fancy, But Fairly Feasible French Onion Soup!
1 package of apple-smoked bacon (sliced into small pieces)
4 medium onions (2 red, 2 yellow, sliced finely)
1/2 cup dry white wine, plus one extra TBSP for each serving bowl
1 tsp dried thyme
3/4 TBSP salt
3/4 TBSP freshly ground pepper
6 cups homemade beef stock
5 slices of French bread (toasted in broiler at 300℉ for 4 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other)
3/4 cup of apple smoked Gruyere cheese (grated)
1. Fry the bacon in a medium-size soup pan. Remove bacon and set aside. Pour about half of the grease into a sealable container, let cool, store in the fridge and use to add wonderful flavor to a variety of dishes.
2. Sauté the onions in the remaining bacon grease until soft and translucent. Add the 1/2 cup of wine, dried thyme, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add beef stock and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add bacon just before transferring to individual serving bowls, reserving several tablespoons for garnish.
4. Meanwhile heat the broiler to 300 degrees. Put French bread slices on a cookie sheet and put them under the broiler until browned, about 3 minutes on each side.
5. Place a piece of French bread in each oven-safe serving bowl (serves 2 to 4, depending on how hungry you are…), add one TBSP of white wine, ladle soup into the bowl, sprinkle with grated cheese and reserved bacon. Place under broiler until cheese is melted. Be careful when removing the bowls from the oven.
Friday posts for 2015 gave me trouble because I had two different ideas for them! Photo Friday? Food Friday? Photo Friday? Food Friday? I couldn’t decide!
I did Photo Friday last year and loved the process of photo-documenting random little bits of life as seen throughout the week…
But Food Friday is also appealing. Food is tasty and beautiful and so much fun to make, photograph and eat! Besides, Dave and I already dubbed 2015 as The Year of the Soup Bowl, so Food Friday would be a wonderful way to keep track of our soup, stew, chili, and curry journey…
I hate decisions! But after ample deliberation, I decided to divide the Fridays between the two options and alternate between Food Friday and Photo Friday! Thoughts? Ideas? Do you have a preference? Anything you’d like to see more or less of on the blog? Feel free to leave a comment!