Hi- I would like to make onion soup for a dinner party I am having. Does anyone have a great recipe or can some one just give me some advice? I have looked at some recipes on line and they are all different...brandy...sherry...white wine...red wine. Any suggestions on what type makes the best onion soup? thanks
A couple of weekends ago I made a batch using a combination of the onion soup recipes from Tony Bourdain's new Les Halle cookbook and Martha Stewart's older light blue cookbook as guides and it came out great! Onions, beef broth, balsamic vinegar, sherry, sugar, salt and pepper, and a little butter were the main ingredients.
Technique suggestion courtesy of Alton Brown (check the Food TV website for his recipe, if you wish, but I found it a tad on the sweet side courtesy of the apple cider) that really works for caramelization: use an electric skillet. Those very 1970s $30 nonstick skillets (available at, among other places, Costco) will happily accomodate 8-10 very large onions, peeled and sliced, and if you heat the thing up to 325F and throw in 3 tbs butter before the onions, plus salting each layer of onions, they will caramelize stunningly over 60-75 minutes with only a few stirs needed. It is much more reliable than the stovetop. You can then cook the rest of the soup easily in the skillet before removing to invididual bowls for broiling the cheesy top.
Cooks Illustrated, for what it's worth, recommends red onions, and that is very good. Alton Brown, Georgian that he is, recommends sweet and regular onions; I think that leads to imbalanced flavors, oddly enough (even though sweet onions area actually a bit less sweet when cooked for a long time than regular onions, IIRC).
A very good "broth" to use with the well carmelized onions is Johnny's Au Jus Concentrate. It is in standard grocery stores in Southern California and probably available near you.
I've linked the website below. Look in your local grocery store for it or contact via website for a name of a store near you.
Also, a very good spice to add is Cavender's Greek Spice mix. I think Konrico's has a similar brand and packaging. It is also quite common to find it in a local grocery store.
Add some very good wine, if you like it, not too much. Very simple recipe. Oh, and I carmelize the onions in peanut oil and butter. And, I suggest lengths of onions, not diced.