Joy the Baker

French Onion Soup Sandwiches

May 15, 2012

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Sometimes I can’t tell whether or not I’m doing a good job.

I realize this sentence might sound trite and indulgent, and downright silly… but I mean it.  Sometimes I can’t tell.

I’ve realized that part of the reason I can’t tell what’s going on in the ‘good job’ department is because… nothing ever stops anymore.  Never.  Emails never stop.  Twitter rarely slows down.  Food ideas keep flowing.  And email… did I already mention emails?  I used to categorize jobs as ‘well done’, partially because they were… done!

Do you remember when things were actually done?

I know what you’re thinking… it’s my responsibility to make things both done and good.  You’re right.  Good and done.  I’m working on the done, and I’m working on the good.   I’m chasing them down.  I’m fueled by melty onion sandwiches.  I’m even writing this business in the streets!

do good

Now… I could have written ‘do well’, but I meant ‘do good’, as in… deeds.  Perhaps I should have written ‘ do done’.

sandwiches

Let’s talk sandwiches!  We’ve got a French soup inspired sandwich today… but there is other sandwich madness you might be into.  Since you’re here, and all:

Green Goddess Tea Sandwich.  Ham Cheese Pickle and Potato Chip Sandwich, right!? and. Coffee Bacon Sandwiches.

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Imagine a world where we need two whole onions for two sandwiches.

That would be a scary scary world if it weren’t for caramelization.

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We’re going to combine raw, pungent onions with fats and heat to mellow them out.

Thank you fats and heats.

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This is a simple sandwich with little bits of important ingredients.

Because there are so few ingredients, they’re all important.

Fresh thyme adds a herby, earthy note to the onions.  Ultimately we want to onions to mimic the taste of French onion soup.  The thyme and fresh cracked pepper will get them there.  Salt is also essential… and just a pinch of sugar balances it all out.

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The melty beginnings.

Dont’ be tempted to turn up the heat.  Patience is virtuous.

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See?  We’re coming along.

Ignore the fact that caramelizing onions start to look wormy.

…I shouldn’t have said anything.

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Once onions are caramelized I deglaze the pan with a bit of beef broth.

This ensures that all the burny flavorful bits are easily scraped from the bottom of the pan… AND… the beef broth really adds that French Onion Soup flavor.  I find it essential.  Feel free to substitute beer, white wine, chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water instead of beef broth.

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Don’t ruin your life with bad bread.

Go fresh.

Life is unpredictable and far too short to suffer through bad bread.

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Enjoy good bread with good butter.

Just like that!  Life is so good!

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Top buttered bread with Gruyere cheese and your prized onions.  We’re making grilled cheese!

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Right on. Right on.  Right on!  Right on!!

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It’s lunch.  It’s dinner.  It’s profoundly satisfying with sweet potato chips and a sparkling apple soda.

This sandwich is magic.  Caramelized onions turn into, what some might consider, candy.  The beef broth and fresh thyme bring out the comforting soup-esque flavors in the onions… and combined with toasted bread and gruyere… it’s totally the most portable French Onion Soup ever.

Make it, and eat it.  Take comfort in the fact that when it’s done… it’s dang done.

French Onion Soup Sandwiches

makes two sandwiches

recipe from Portuguese Girl Cooking

Print this Recipe!

2 medium yellow onions, peeled cut in half and sliced into 1/4-inch thick semi-circles

3 tablespoon unsalted butter,softened, plus more for buttering the bread

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 scant teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

pinch of granulated sugar

3 tablespoons beef broth, beer, or white wine to deglaze the pan

1/2 cup finely shredded Gruyere cheese, please use more cheese to your own taste

4 slices bread

Place a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the butter and olive oil and stir until butter is melted.  Add the sliced onions all at once.  Stir to coat the onions in the fat.  Allow onions to cook, undisturbed, for about 4 minutes.  Add salt, thyme, and pepper and stir.  Place lid on the pan and allow to onions to cook for about 4 minutes at a time.  Lower the heat if the onions are browning too quickly.  Remove the lid to stir the onions every so often.  The onions will begin to brown, break down, and resemble an onion jam.

When onions are entirely browned and completely soft, add your liquid (beef broth, beer, wine, or water) to the pan.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape any burned bits off the bottom of the pan as the liquid evaporates.  This takes about 30 seconds.  Remove pan from heat and allow to rest while you assemble the sandwiches.

Butter one side of each slice of bread.  On the unbuttered side add a good sprinkling of gruyere, top with warm onion mixture, top with more cheese and the final piece of sandwich bread.  Repeat process in assembling the other sandwich.

Cook sandwiches over medium heat in a medium saute pan.  Flip and cook until golden on the outside and melty on the inside.  Serve immediately.  


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