Monday, December 31, 2012

French Onion Soup Noodle Casserole

I have to be crazy to caramelize four pounds of onions on New Year's Eve. But once you taste the result, I'd have to be crazy not to. Lovely supper for two accompanied by a glass of champagne. Plenty of left overs for later 'cause it only gets better.

Ingredients for French Onion Noodle Casserole


8 large yellow onions, halved, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 or 3 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 pound egg noodles
1-1/2 cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


1. Cut off the stem and root ends of onions, halve lengthwise, peel skin and slice finely across the grain.

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottom stock pot over medium heat. When oil sizzles, add the onions and garlic, stirring deeply to glaze the vegetables. Add salt to draw out the moisture. Cook until the onions begin to wilt, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent sticking.

3. After 45 to 60 minutes, the onions will be swimming in their own juices. Add thyme and bay leaves. Reduce the heat and continue to cook, stirring often to prevent burning until they are tan and most of the juice has evaporated.  The drier they get, the more often you need to stir. This batch cooked two hours.


5. When the onions and garlic are tan and nearly dry, add wine and turn up the heat to deglaze the pan. Cook briskly and stir frequently until the wine has cooked out. Add beef stock, reduce the heat again and simmer 15 minutes or so more while you prepare the egg noodles. 

6. Cook egg noodles according to package directions under-cooking them about a minute.  Drain then combine with onions in a casserole dish. Top with both cheeses. Bake 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Serve with a salad of bitter greens and a glass of champagne to toast the New Year or raise a glass to the devotedl French cooks who have taught us the rewards of slow cooking with love and don't spare the butter.

~Thanks to Russ Parsons, food editor of the LA Times for a tutorial on how to caramelize onions and to Rachel Ray for the yummy French onion egg noodle casserole recipe.
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