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Right now, we're watching one of my favourite sports: speed skating. Although I've never tried it, I love watching both long track and short track events. To prepare, we went out on the Rideau Canal this morning, followed by breakfast at The Lieutenant's Pump.

I was looking to make an easy soup or stew tonight, while we watched the Olympic skaters. I just picked up Fine Cooking's recent "Soups and Stews" supplement and decided to make the cover recipe, French Onion Soup. However, I decided to make a few modifications based on my former recipe from the Best of Bridge series. The result was pretty good. I'm sure we'll continue to refine it further but so far this appears to be the best of both worlds.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 medium/large yellow onions (about 8 cups), thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt (or regular salt) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 demi baguette
  • 2 L beef broth (I buy two 900mL PC Organics beef broth containers and add water to top them up to 2L)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Gruyère cheese, grated
  1. Melt the butter in a 4-quart pot (or larger) over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, 1 tsp of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Reduce heat to low and press a piece of foil onto the onions to cover them completely, then cover the pot with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, until the onions are very soft but not falling apart.
  2. Remove lid and foil and raise heat to medium high. Add the sherry and cook, stirring often, until the onions are deeply browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toast baguette slices (enough to cover serving bowls, about 3-4 per bowl). They can be toasted in the oven at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes (turning once). In a pinch, they can also be toasted in a toaster (watch your fingers when taking them out! It's like a game of Operation!).
  4. Add the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and a bay leaf to the onions. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper (easy on the salt -- you probably won't need any with the Worcestershire sauce anyways).
  5. Turn on the oven's broiler. Ladle soup into broiler-proof bowls, float slices of toasted baguette on top and sprinkle grated Gruyère cheese over top. Put under the boiler until the cheese is melted and serve immediately.

(Worcestershire sauce and cooking sherry are from the recipe from "Winners" in the Best of the Bridge series. The Fine Cooking recipe included 1 tsp of sugar instead of sherry.)
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