Let us consider French onion soup. When done right, it’s ambrosia of the beefs. Often so hearty it sits like a bowling ball in the stomach. A delicious bowling ball, but still.
I was turned off of this stuff for years because of too many run-ins with that special breed of chef that says “throw all the bouillon in the pot – for flavor!” and then serves broiled cheese mush bread to me with a bottom layer of soup. It’s just not right.
But my recent trip to the Paris Room Bistro here in Chagrin Falls has changed my mind and I’m going to start ordering it again.
There are a few things I would like to tweak in a classic French onion soup – less onion chunks, added vegetables and a little meat. I’m also not a huge fan of the cheese melted right over the sides things.
Therefore! I think I’m going to make a French onion soup with stuff in it. I’m going to cut down on the slurry of cooked onion pieces, add in thinly sliced carrot and celery, small pieces of beef, and a little bit of pearl barley in the bottom. Just a little stuff. Not so much to overcrowd the broth, but just enough that there’s something enticing down at the bottom of the bowl even after the bread and cheese are gone. If I make my browned beef stock from scratch, I may even get my beef meat and marrow from my soup bones! (Browned oxtails are to. die. for.)
I’m going to toast bread up real nice and crisp before floating chunks of it atop my soup, then broiling a fine layer of cheese over it all until singed slightly brown, the cheese almost crunchy around the edges.
So we shall see how that goes – I foresee Dad happily paying the grocery bill, fine proponent of French onion soup and my cooking that he is. And then we will have onion soup on-demand, just add cheesy bread!