I have to apologize for my absence last week. It couldn’t be helped.
You see, it snowed almost 40 inches over four days and when that happens I lose sight of anything and everything that doesn’t involve my snowboard and a babysitter. So while I rode everyday until my legs gave out, I didn’t clean, I didn’t cook (that much), I didn’t blog, and I certainly didn’t do laundry.
Needless to say, this past weekend was a game of ‘catch-up’ for me. I mopped up the apple juice that was spilled five days ago, I washed my stanky ass capilene that I not only wore as my base layer for snowboarding but doubled as my pajamas most nights. I took out the trash and recycling and last but not least, I made soup.
Two of my favorite soups on this planet are french onion and a hearty mushroom-barley. I’ve been craving them both but couldn’t make up my mind on which to make. After pondering it for seemed like days, I decided I’d make both.
In one pot.
Because they both have similar flavor profiles, combining them seemed like a sure shot winner. Little did I know the soup would turn out as good as it did. Hearty and comforting, this soup is ultra satisfying without being too heavy.
I started out like any traditional french onion by caramelizing two large onions. I then added sliced cremini mushrooms, fresh thyme and a bay leaf. After cooking all this down for 20 minutes or so, I deglazed the pan with some dry sherry which I think is the secret ingredient if you will. Beef stock, some cooked barley and a little salt and pepper finish off this winner of a soup.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and every time I make soup),this is better the second and third day. So it’s perfect for making early in the week and heating up for a quick lunch or light dinner.
To all my mountain town readers, I hope you enjoyed the fresh snow and found the time to get out and play!!
French Onion and Mushroom Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 16 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 32 oz beef broth
- 1 cup cooked barley
- salt and pepper
1. Melt the olive oil and butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until they start to soften. Add day leaf, thyme sprigs, mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring often for another 20-25 minutes until mushrooms and onions start to caramelize. Take note that you might need to adjust the temperature on your stove while cooking. If the heat is too high, the mushrooms and onions will burn. If the heat is too low, the onions and mushrooms will become soggy as they release their liquid. You want the temperature just right so that the liquid evaporates and the onions and mushrooms caramelize.
2. When the mushrooms start to brown, turn the heat to medium-high add the sherry. Scrape up the yummy brown bits at the bottom of the pan and stir just until the sherry has evaporated. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Return heat to low and let the sop simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the cooked barley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. If desired, top soup with some freshly grated parmesan.