Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Google 'The Soup Pickle Girl'. You won't be sorry.

I think soup kind of gets a bad rap. Lots of people don't seem to see it as a meal unless it's accompanied by half a sandwich, a salad, and/or breadsticks. And then there are people who only think it can be satisfying if it's made from potatoes or cream. Not me. When I make soup, I tend to stick with broth-based varieties. They're generally pretty low cal, filling, and warm you up all cozy-like without weighing you down.

Plus, soup's easy clean up. Important when you still feel like crap and your handsome dishwasher is out of town, having fun without you.

So because my sad excuse for chicken soup the other night got me in a soup-makin' mood, tonight is installment two of Sick Kid Soup. Joel McHale would be so proud. Fun Wiki soup fact: The word restaurant first originated in France in the 16th century to describe a concentrated, cheap soup designed as an 'antidote' for exhaustion (a 'restoring' soup, if you will). These soups were sold by street vendors, until some guy finally opened up a shop specializing in these soups. Ta-Da, the "Restaurant" was born.

You never know when you'll need to impress someone while watching Jeopardy. You're welcome.

Anyway, I'm definitely not at full power yet, so I decided to go with a low-involvement, low-prep soup: French Onion. Seems daunting, but is really easy. Slice some onions, let them caramelize down, add some broth, and simmer the hell out of it. That's basically it. You can totally handle that.

French Onion Soup
4 large onions, halved then thinly sliced (Use a mix of sweet and red onions)
olive oil
1/4 cup sherry, white wine, or vermouth
8 cups beef broth
fresh thyme
1/4 tsp each salt, pepper, and sugar
croutons or bread slices
Sliced cheese (Emmentaler, swiss, something in that family)

Heat a bit of olive oil(about half a tbsp) in large stock pot over medium high. Add onion, saute a couple of minutes until they start getting soft. Reduce heat to medium, add salt, pepper and sugar, and mix well. Stir every few minutes for about 25 minutes. You may get some browning and sticking in the pan, that's fine. Just let it do its thing.

When they're a brown mess, add wine and try to break up all the brown bits stuck to the pan. Take the leaves off a couple of thyme branches (just slide your fingers down it in the wrong direction and they should come right off) until you have about 1/4 a tsp or so, and add it to the mix. Add broth, stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Let cook about 2 hours or until you can't stand it anymore.

If you have french or sourdough bread, toast a slice or two and cut into small pieces. (I use half a small piece of my bread ripped into pieces). Ladle soup into an oven safe bowl, add bread or croutons on top, and cover with one slice of cheese per bowl. I only had smoked gouda, and it was great.

Broil in oven a couple of minutes until the cheese is melty and gooey. Serve immediately. Based from a Cooking Light recipe, so I'm using their nutrition info.
For 1.25 cup serving, about 290 cals, 10g fat, 3g fiber, 33g carbs, 17g protein

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