Between the re-established running routine, the polar vortex and the New Year resolution to eat less bread, sugar, fat and, well, just less, one begins to feel a little too "without." The less is more has waned in a serious way, and seriously, if I'm keeping up with the running like I promised myself, surely I should get to eat what I want. Everything within reason, of course. At the time of this writing the weather has warmed to a temperate high 50's and the sun has been shining all day. But the bitter cold will be back and this lazy woman's French onion soup is a great comfort.
My New Year's resolutions, if you call them that, which I don't, are remarkably similar to those of last year: run more, read more, write more, be nicer to myself. More is more. And in this recipe, more bread and cheese makes the dish.
The beauty of this soup is you don't have to bake it and so you don't need the extra dishware, those French onion soup specific bowls. It also cuts out that extra baking step.
Almost French Onion Soup
2 medium onions, sliced
2 Tbl butter
4 slices sourdough bread, slightly stale
1/2 Tbl dried Thyme or 1 Tbl fresh chopped
1 oz (2 Tbl) sherry
4 cups beef stock (usually one carton)
1/4 lb swiss cheese, pre-shredded generic or treat yourself to a block of Emmenthaler or Gruyere and grate fresh
Heat the butter on medium-low heat in a soup pot and add onions, making sure to coat them well with the melted butter. Simmer the onions slowly until tender, stirring every five or ten minutes until they are fully cooked through and gooey, about 45 minutes. Add the thyme, sherry and beef stock and bring to a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Place a slice of sourdough bread in each bowl. Best to use deep soup bowls. If your bread is fresh, toast it lightly to dry it out a little. I think it absorbs the broth better this way. Ladle in the soup and top with a generous amount of cheese. If using pre-shredded generic swiss, preferably a thin shred, place a sauce pan top or plate over the bowl for a couple minutes to melt the cheese. If you've treated yourself to a good block of Emmanthaler or Gruyere, you won't need to do this. Without the staying power of preservatives in the block of cheese, the freshness with melt almost to disappearance in the soup.
Serve with a cold glass of oloroso sherry or unoaked chardonnay, like a basic white Burgundy. This might be the only carb and fat I allow myself to eat all day, but it's totally worth it.