|Hot from the broiler, Gruyere-laden French Onion Soup|
During it's heyday, Famous-Barr, a major department store in St. Louis (sadly, now it's become Macy's) had a wonderful chef create an even more wonderful version of French Onion Soup. It was thick and rich, and came from the kitchen in a McCoy pottery brown drip soup bowl (like the one pictured here, itself a genuine McCoy) bubbling with melted Gruyere cheese atop two slices of French baguette. It was heaven in a bowl! The store used to sell the soup frozen, along with packages of grated Gruyere cheese and fresh baguettes so you could reproduce that onion-y goodness at home. But over the course of time, the gourmet food section in the store closed, followed closely by the bakery and candy departments. Fortunately the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published the recipe so onion soup fanciers could make this version at home. I've had a lot of onion soup in my day, even in Paris, but this recipe beats them all.
FAMOUS-BARR'S FRENCH ONION SOUP
5 lbs onions, unpeeled
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons paprika
1 bay leaf
7 (16 ounce) cans beef broth, divided (recommended Swanson's)
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
Peel onions and slice 1/8 inch thick, preferably in a food processor. Melt butter in a 6-quart (or larger) stockpot. Add onions; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (The long cooking time makes the onions mellow and sweet.) Stir in pepper, paprika and bay leaf; saute over low heat 10 minutes more, stirring frequently. Pour in 6 cans broth and wine. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Dissolve flour in remaining 1 can broth. Stir into boiling soup. Reduce heat and simmer slowly for 2 hours. Adjust color to a rich brown with caramel coloring, season with salt. Refrigerate overnight. To serve, heat soup in microwave or on stove top. If desired, pour into ovenproof crocks or bowls. Top with a slice of bread and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Heat under the broiler until cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.
Leftover soup can be frozen.
Foodie Friday is hosted by Michael at Designs by Gollum.