I will sure be pinning everything to my Pinterest recipe boards. Links are at the end of the post.
Mini French Onion Soup
While living in Paris, I learned how to make this easy soup by a British chef who had married a Frenchman. She taught cooking lessons in her kitchen in the St. Cloud suburb.
The ONLY hard part of this soup is being patient with the browning/carmelizing of the onions. Give it time.
This is traditional French onion soup but served in small cups.
- 4 medium onions cut in half and half again and thinly sliced
- one bunch fresh thyme
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups low sodium beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 skinny baguette sliced
- 2 tsp sherry like Fino
- 1 to 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
In a large heavy pot, melt 5 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are deep golden brown and caramelized, reducing heat slightly if onions seem to be browning too quickly, 35 to 45 minutes more.
Add wine and raise heat to high. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add broth and bay leaves and three sprigs thyme to pot with onions. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until broth is thickened and flavorful, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning
Preheat oven to 425. Place baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until crisp and dry about 5 minutes but keep an eye on them. Turn over and sprinkle a good amount of cheese on each slice and return to oven until melted.
Meanwhile, place a drop of sherry into each cup. Remove bay leaves and thyme from soup; Spoon hot soup in cups. Cover with melted cheese toasts and garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately.
You can make the soup in advance and reheat it when you are ready to serve. I usually put the cups near the stove to warm up a bit. If you have two ovens, you could keep them warm while the cheese is melting on the toasts.
Fresh Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Here’s another small appetizer that uses fresh pesto. You could buy pesto but it’s easy to make as we usually have the ingredients (pine nuts in the freezer, a block of parmesan in the fridge and a bag or fresh pot of basil from Trader Joes).
I put the cherry tomatoes on a plate with parsley to keep them upright…but I like the taste of a little parsley with the pesto/tomato bite, too.
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 3 tbs lightly toasted pine nuts Trader Joes has them pre-toasted
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
In a food processor, chop the garlic. Add the basil, pine nuts, salt, pepper and olive oil and process until smooth and creamy. Add the Parmesan, and pulse until well combined.
Cut thin slices from the tops of the cherry tomatoes. Use a grapefruit spoon or small spoon to scoop the seeds and flesh from the center of each tomato. Place them, cut side down, on a rack to drain for 10 minutes. Fill with the pesto, arrange on a plate and serve. Refrigerate or freeze any leftover pesto.
It’s been raining A LOT. This was a brief respite with some sunshine… Christmas cards as coffee table decor. An “in my face” reminder. Are you sending them out this year?
Here are more Flavorful Holiday Appetizers to get you set for upcoming gatherings.