Hello Monday. It is mid-day and your sky is darkening. The pitter-patter of your raindrops are picking up to a thunderous roar and the dark shadows from your clouds have tripped off my floodlight on the porch.
Dark and stormy afternoons like these are actually quite romantic.
Know what else is romantic?
French Onion Soup.
Have you ever noticed that French Onion Soup is often on the menu in romantic, linen table clothed, candlelit, and over-priced-but-worth-it fancy restaurants? It is one of those richly decadent dishes that are not overloaded with ingredients yet is overloaded in the complete sensory experience.
A really good French Onion Soup is in the pleasure-eating category. Done right and it awakens all of your senses, begging you for more.
You do not have to be a chef to make it yourself. All you need to do is engage your senses and give in to the luxury of this deeply rich and satisfying meal.
You know I would not bring it up if I didn’t think you could do it.
French Onion Soup
1 medium size white onion
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, removed from stem
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon of dry red wine
sourdough bread or other hard skinned bread
havarti or other semi-soft cheese
Thinly slice your onions and separate into rings. Turn on stove to medium-low heat and add butter. Once butter is melted, add onions and toss until they are nicely coated. Add salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. You want the onions to nicely cook and not burn. Stir occasionally. The combination of herb, butter, and onions waft a delicious sweetness.
While onions are cooking, bring broth to a boil. Turn to simmer and slowly sift in cornstarch to have an ever-so-slight thickening. You want that thickening because it changes the lightness into something edgier and decadent.
Turn up the heat to medium-high on onions. Add more butter if you need it so you can get a rich browning effect. Add the red wine and turn off heat. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. The red wine adds a shock of stain to the onions as it hungrily drinks in the new addition. This is depth, baby.
Add onions to broth mixture and turn heat to simmer. Put the lid on, they need to get to know each other for a while.
Cut two slices of sourdough bread big enough to fit inside your soup bowl. Place in oven for 5 minutes until dry and flip over for another 5 minutes. Cut cheese to size of bread and turn on broiler. Keep on eye on it! Within a minute or two, turn off the oven. Without this step, you are just making onion soup. Cheese and bread brings out the French in it.
Spoon soup into bowls and place the cheese-laden bread on the top of each. Wait two minutes for the juices to soak and the two become as one.
Did I just hear you say that you don’t think French Onion Soup is romantic or pleasurable? Who are you? Why are we even friends? Better yet… you gotta’ tell me what you think is your most pleasurable dish. You know, that dish you only wait to order when you go to a fancy-schmancy restaurant? Yeah, that one. What is it?
Eat well, my friends. Eat well.