Sunday, February 24, 2008

French Onion Soup & Marsanne

d.A. (Domaine Astruc) Marsanne 2005 – France
Deep, pineapple nose. Tastes of pineapple and honey (not sweetness). Definitely some oak. Marsanne is a “third-tier” grape that is usually worth a try (at any reasonable price). Yes. $8

French Onion Soup
(Recipe for 2)

  • In a medium sauce pan, sauté 3/4 of a large onion in equal parts olive oil and butter, until the onions begin to brown and caramelize a bit.
  • Add ground thyme, white pepper, sage, and whole thyme, to taste. (Tarragon is often a traditional spice, but we don’t care for it.)
  • Add 2 cans of beef broth, or equivalent stock. (We’ve also made this with chicken stock as well as with homemade veggie stock – most anything works.) Add about 1/4 cup dry white wine and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Scrape the pan to make sure all onion is well mixed. (If using a lighter chicken or veggie stock, we sometimes add red wine instead of white. Or even sauté red onions instead of yellow.)
  • Simmer uncovered, and cook until reduced by about 1/3. The longer you simmer, the more infused will be the onion flavor.
  • Put into individual broiler-proof soup tureens.
  • Top each soup with a round of toasted French bread, and about 1/4 cup of grated Gruyere (or other) cheese.
  • Broil just until cheese melts completely but before it starts to brown.
  • Serve with additional slices of French bread (toasted or not) and Parmesan cheese.
  • (Some recipes call for a flour roux after the onions have been sautéed, but we find any flour in the soup makes it drab and grainy.)