I bought 50 pounds of onions this weekend.
Yup. You read that right. 50 pounds. Once again, I may have overdone it. That seems to be my signature style. If we’re going to be friends, you should probably know that about me. You should also know that I cook a lot for my friends and my homies at work. If we’re going to hang out, either in the office or out of it, you’ll get fed.
This is a savory onion soup that gets its flavor from long and slow cooking. It may cut some corners when compared to a traditional French onion soup but it is nice for a meal on a cool weekend when you really don’t have the time or inclination to deal with much of anything. 5 minutes of prep work and 24 hours of hands-off cooking time later, you have a big crock full of yum.
This, folks, isn’t so much a recipe as loose guidelines. Therein lies the beauty of this soup. You really only have to have a few things on hand: onions, stock and a bay leaf. You can vary the seasoning a bit if you want and/or booze it up with a little beer, dry white wine or sherry. But, really, you can keep it to the basics and still have a very tasty soup. I toted all the ingredients to the office and got it crackalacking on a break.
As a bonus, if you’re counting calories or are following a special diet, this is generally very easy to customize for compliance for a wide range of plans. Weight Watchers, Paleo, gluten-free, low-sodium, etc. Not a problem! Just eyeball your ingredients to make sure they’re on target with your program.
The Onions: Use whatever you have on hand. White, yellow red, sweet… whatever. It can be all of one kind or a mix. Slice them up and pile them up in a crock pot. Pile ’em high. They’ll cook down quite a bit. This is, by the by, a good time to break out a mandolin, if you have one.
The Stock: I like to use beef stock but, again, use whatever you have available and sounds appealing to you. Beef. Chicken. Make it vegetarian by using veggie stock. This is one time when having home made stock in the freezer is handy but you won’t lose any points by using boxed or canned. Fill up your crock, making sure your onions are mostly covered.
Seasoning & Extras: I always throw in a bay leaf or two. I happened to come across some fresh bay leaves at the store. You can also toss in whatever else sounds good to you. A little thyme, some garlic, etc. I am generally a fan of boozing up this soup so some beer, dry white wine or dry sherry wouldn’t hurt. (Note that I left out the booze for this batch. Boozing up soup at work is generally frowned upon by management.)
So… once you’ve filled up your crock pot, turn it on to Low. Let it go for 24 hours and you’re good to go! If you’re feeling fancy, you can put it in a bowl, top it with cheese and broil it a bit. Or you can do what I do and just plop a slice of smoked provolone on top and let it get melty.
Here’s a printer-friendly and less rambly version of the above.
- A bunch of onions
- Several quarts of stock
- A bay leaf or two
- Whatever other herbs and seasonings you want
- Slice up the onions and put them in the crock pot.
- Pour the stock over the onions and toss in a bay leaf or two. Add anything else that strikes your fancy.
- Cover and turn crock pot on low.
- Let cook for 24 hours.
Historically, I have made this with just the onion, stock and bay leaf. It is also good with a little thyme added but feel free to play around with the seasoning. A little beer, dry white wine or dry sherry never hurt anything either.
I often serve this with smoked provolone and a chunk of bread.