Thursday, October 28, 2010

Famous-Barr's French Onion Soup

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.


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

French baguettes
Gruyere cheese

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.


Lori (All That Splatters) said...

I have been in the mood for French Onion soup for a little while now. Yours looks fantastic!!

Natasha in Oz said...

I have only made French onion soup once before and I loved it. Thanks for reminding me to make it again. I will definitely use this recipe next time!

Best wishes and happy Foodie Friday!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

We used to have Marshall Fields, which is now, sadly Macys as well. I love French Onion Soup and will save this recipe!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Pattie, Very yummy! I love a good french onion soup. And I think the mosaic you did was brilliant! Such a clever idea!

Jacqueline said...

OH, this looks straight out of a magazine. The weather went cold this week, even a lot of snow on the ground and I crave warm wonderful soups. Onion soup is one of my favorites. Your mosaic is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

agreenearth said...

That looks so good, love french onion soup, will keep your recipe.

Cheerful said...

wow, looks to try it! happy halloween! :)

Dee said...

We L-O-V-E French Onion soup. Such a yummy Fall soup. I did not know that it was easily frozen. I don't know why I haven't thought of that, thanks for the tip! Have a great weekend.

Southerncook said...

I love a good French Onion Soup and yours looks wonderful. I posted on my blog a few weeks ago with a recipe from Dorrie Greenspan's new cookbook that was a little different. She used chicken stock instead of beef stock. It made for a little lighter in taste. Enjoyed visiting your blog.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Anonymous said...

This is one of my most favorite soups, thanks for the nice tutorial on how to make it. I will have to attempt it soon.

Cathy said...

It's sad to see the grand old tea rooms of the past fade away. I remember having wonderful lunches with my grandmother at the long ago closed restaurant. French onion is one of my favorite soups.

The Fajdich Times said...

I love French Onion soup. Can't wait to try your recipe. Great job on your mosaic! Very nice blog:)

Anonymous said...

Now, I'm hungry, and can even smell all of that sweet onion through my computer screen!

a quiet life said...

i love french onion soup, i could slurp it up every single day!