onion soup recipe or fondly: alcohol cabinet soup.
First, empty entire contents of alcohol cabinet to counter top. That should have been the first instruction in this fennel onion soup recipe, seriously. I had to search the ingredient list to ensure there was actually some form of broth in this soup. Sure enough, there was. But I was already taken: any excuse to eat Gruyere cheese and I am all in. (Recipe from Barefoot Contessa, Parties). ...So I walked into the liquor store, and asked the cashier: do you have Pernod? Because it was listed in this alcohol cabinet recipe, one of four different liquors that would eventually call itself a soup. I had never purchased Pernod, but in the recesses of my brain knew it was a liquor of some sorts. Sure enough, they had a bottle. AND it was expensive. I looked at the guy, said thanks but I am not THAT invested in this soup and proceeded to purchase some humble bottles of wine instead.
He looked at me, sizing me up, surely deciding whether sharing information was even worth his time. Then proceeded to tell me that I could purchase some anise oil from a grocer and put a few drops of that into the soup instead. I looked at him---my turn to size him up---and with my mind swimming with thoughts of anise, I nearly stumbled on myself in happy disbelief: you mean, it is the same as Sambuca or Ouzo? Sure, he said, just the French version. I chuckled, filled my arms with bottles of wine and went on my way.
I had Sambuca at home; we love it as the occasional apertif---or treat, at the end of a meal. This time, though, my Sambuca was going into soup.
I will make this soup again, could eat it again and again and would recommend it time and again. French Onion Soup is a classic. Perhaps that is why the French Pernod and French Baguette? Instead I might call it Anise Fennel Gruyere Soup, though in the end when you eat it, you will inevitably cheer its cousin the French Onion Soup. You should try it: you might like it.
French Fennel Onion Soup 1/2 cup butter 2 bulbs fennel, slice thin 4 medium yellow onions, sliced thin 2 tsp fresh thyme 1/4 cup brandy 1/2 cup dry sherry 1/2 cup white wine 8 cups chicken stock 1 T coarse salt 1 tsp coarse pepper 1/4 cup Pernod OR Sambuca OR Ouzo French Baguette, sliced 3/4 LB Gruyere cheese, grated
Melt butter over medium high heat, add fennel, onion and thyme and caramelize for 25 minutes. Adjust heat to medium, add brandy and cook 3 minutes. Add sherry, wine and simmer 10 minutes. Add stock, salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Add Pernod and cook 5 minutes. Ladle into oven proof soup bowls, top with slice of bread and Gruyere cheese. BROIL for 3 minutes until cheese melts and begins to brown. Serve with what else? A glass of wine and probably some dinner-ending sips of Sambuca, sans the soup.