Once a winter—always when there is snow on the ground and preferably when it's actually snowing—we like to make a lovely French Onion soup. To us, this is the epitome of slow food—nourishment that's complex, and the process of creating it is just as nurturing as the pleasure of eating it. Dan usually uses Thomas Keller's French Onion soup recipe, but has also used Julia Child's French Onion soup recipe. This time—to try something completely new—he used the New York Times French Onion soup recipe which was very delicious with the addition of some ruby port.
This is a messy soup—the messier the better. I always make sure some of the cheese (that's piled onto crisp croutons in the soup) overhangs naughtily over the edge of the bowl before broiling (oops, spilled some cheese, ha ha). The ooey-gooey cheese is great of course, but so are those crispy cheese bits that become welded onto the sides of the scorching hot bowls. Whatever recipe you decide to use, don't forget a green salad and a rich red wine to go with this.
I love when Dan makes this soup—it's an afternoon affair. First, he slices mass amounts of onions, and sautées them in butter for hours, eventually turning them into gorgeous, bronzed and sweet caramelized slivers of yum. He adds a sprigs of thyme, a splash of this and that, and other odds, and he finally adds the beef stock. Important note!… The backbone of this marvelous rustic soup is my homemade beef stock recipe. Do not even think about using canned beef stock for this onion soup recipe, your slowly caramelized onions deserve it.