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5 Simple French Dinners

French Onion Soup and Quiche
Stay true to the basics and you can't go wrong.
Stay true to the basics and you can't go wrong.

You may be familiar with French onion soup from a can (horrors), or from a freeze dried packet (double horrors). You may even associate this French classic with a restaurant first course buried under a thick layer of cheese and gloppy with sodden French bread or croutons. Good French onion soup isn't about the extras; it's about flavorful broth. It's a prime example of the power of a single ingredient to transform a dish.

To make exceptional French onion soup, you need lots of onions. The next step is to remove as much moisture as possible from the onion slices while browning them to a sweet finish. The last thing you want to do is steam the onions in their own liquid. If you're cooking onions on the stove, use a large skillet or pot with a lot of surface area that will allow steam to escape easily. Cook the onions slowly until they're brown and almost falling apart. That's when they'll release their sugars and other complex and delicious flavors.

French onion soup can be a meal all by itself, but if you want to create a more elaborate repast, quiche is a wonderful compliment to hearty soup. Eggs aren't just for breakfast anymore, and a creamy meat or veggie filled custard nestled into a flavorful crust is certainly worthy of the evening meal. Even better, you can make quiche hours ahead and reheat it. Why not make two and freeze one? Quiche freezes beautifully. If making great crust isn't your hobby of choice, use prepared deep dish crust instead. It'll make quiche pep quick and easy. These tips will help too:

  • If you're making your own crust, chill all the ingredients as well as the rolling surface and rolling pin. When it comes to crust, cold is good.
  • Use the freshest eggs you can find.
  • Rotate quiche half way through cooking to ensure even heating.
  • Wrap aluminum foil around the exposed edges of the crust during the last 15 minutes of cooking to avoid scorching.
  • Use a thermometer to test doneness. When the center of the quiche reads 170 degrees Fahrenheit, it's done.
  • After removing quiche from the oven, let it sit on an elevated rack for 10 minutes to cool and set.

These French onion soup and quiche recipes will get you started: