This French Onion Soup recipe is what happened when my dad and I joined forces in the kitchen many years ago.
I first fell in love with French Onion soup in Hawaii of all places!
My dad was a career navy man -- 30 years active duty.
For a military family it was unusual that we had been able to stay put in San Diego for so many years. No doubt my dad had made sacrifices (or deals?!) allowing us the luxury of not having to change schools.
I was 13 when the navy finally plucked me and my brothers away from everything familiar -- schools, friends, church, neighborhood. Our routine.
We were sent to . . . Oahu. (Things could certainly be worse!)
I was super excited to be taking my "surfer bangs," Ditto pants and short hoodie sweater to Hawaii, but apprehensive at the same time.
Entering a new school is never easy, but entering a new school in the middle of the school year??? Yeah, that kind of sucks. We had no choice.
My mom, born and raised on Oahu, was thrilled with this move –
A chance to be close to her friends and family again.
A chance to share childhood memories with her own children.
Us kids loved exploring the beaches and having our big, extended family around for the 3 years we were there.
My little brother and I would take the bus down to Waikiki to soak up the sun and splash around for hours.
Fort DeRussy was an armed forces recreation center right smack dab in the middle of Waikiki.
At some point during our time there, the Hale Koa Hotel was constructed on Fort DeRussy.
It was gorgeous then – and still is.
Inevitably, as we were enjoying the sun and waves, hunger would hit Brad and I.
We had our circuit of places we'd eat. Most often we'd order from the fast food area outside the Hale Koa.
Burgers, fries, soft serve ice cream -- that sort of fare.
But, from time to time we'd venture into the Hale Koa to have lunch at the café.
One of our favorite things to order was the French Onion Soup.
After we moved away in ’78 and could no longer could visit our little café, I set out to make the soup at home. My dad was thrilled to collaborate with me on this endeavor.
Naturally, the onions provide most of the flavor.
Aside from onions and beef broth, I didn't know where to begin.
He suggested garlic. Of course. Because everything is better with garlic, right?
And you have to have a couple shakes of Worcestershire sauce and a good amount of black pepper.
Brilliant! Thank you, Dad!
That’s really all you need for the soup.
BUT it's really not French onion soup unless you add a hearty slice of French bread with melty cheese topping the whole, glorious thing off!
After all . . . CHEESE!
I make “croutons” out of the bread first.
This dries out the bread and slows down the absorption of the soup a little bit.
To do this, I slice the bread and place it in a 200 degree oven for an hour or so.
Making the crouton is not imperative, but if you’ve got the time, I recommend it!
Enjoy! - The Recipe Wench