When you’re lazy and unwilling to do work, make soup. It’s simple, requires minimal effort, and you can convince yourself that you’ll study for exams while the soup is boiling away. If you need further persuasion, look to your weather channel. Thirty-three degree Chicago weather? Yeah, I’ll take some soup thank you very much.
Make big batches, if you can. Freeze the leftovers and you’ll have hot bowls of comfort lasting you all winter.
P.S. These beautiful photos were taken by my dear friend Dan and his lovely Canon. And big news, I finally purchased my own DSLR a few weeks ago! Hopefully my future photos will be up to par with this kind of quality.
2 onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (you can get these at Whole Foods for close to pennies)
1 quart of quality beef broth
1 generous tablespoon and a half of flour
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
A few thick slices of french baguette, well-toasted
1/2 cup red wine (I skipped this but I definitely missed the depth of flavor it would have given)
Salt and pepper
1. Caramelize sliced onions in a big pot with butter, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. We put in the bay leaf and thyme now instead of with the broth so we can infuse those flavors into the onions. Also, don’t stir the onions too often, let them sit. They will do their own work. This process will take about half an hour until the onions are deep golden brown and completely wilted.
I was impatient so this was about the point of caramelization that I waited until. If you want deeper flavor, I suggest waiting even further until the onions become almost creamy and a medium brown, not tan.
2. After the onions have fully caramelized, add the wine and bring it up to a boil until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are “dry.” The alcohol will have cooked off and the wine flavor will remain, concentrated.
3. Discard the bay leaf and thyme, and stir in the flour on medium low heat. Cook for about 5-6 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
4. Pour in beef broth and let simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
5. When you’re ready to eat, turn on your broiler. Place a small but thick slice of well-toasted baguette (I mean it should be sturdy piece of toast, not something lightly toasted) at the bottom of two bowls, respectively.
6. Pour over the soup, leaving about an inch and a half of space. Place these bowls in a oven-safe pan to catch any overflow. There shouldn’t really be any, but, who knows? I know I don’t want to be scrubbing off any spilt soup and onions. Then top with more slices of thick toasted baguette until the surface is filled. As you can tell, I like bread, but feel free to use less. Cover with as much Gruyère as your heart desires. I say be generous.
7. Place pan with soup bowls into oven and broil the top until the cheese is melted and gooey and delicious. Enjoy!
TIP: Another way of doing this without placing the bowls in the oven, if you don’t have oven-safe bowls, is to simply broil the bread and cheese in the oven until the cheese has melted, and then place the slices over the soup.