A Simple First Friday of Lent

This is not our First Friday of Lent together. We’ve shared four others at Rosemarie’s Kitchen. That said, this First Friday of Lent is different in that it’s the first time we’ve shared a bowl of soup.

Three of the four prior First Fridays of Lent have all been recipes for fish. The one exception was Restaurant Style Shrimp Scampi, a copy-cat inspired by The Cheesecake Factory. I’ve never really thought about what to make for the Fridays of Lent because, in our old-school Catholic home, every Friday is observed as though it is a Friday of Lent.

Yet Lenten Fridays are different, for a number of reasons. First is that as lay persons, we are no longer alone in our abstinence practices. During the six-week period of Lent, the whole of the church – clergy and lay alike – abstain from meats. From the pulpit, we are reminded to walk the way of the cross, to focus on being ready to receive salvation. Yes, as Catholics (as Christians) we believe we are saved. Yet we “prepare” for Easter, and to receive the Risen Lord.

The penance and sacrifice of Lenten Fridays are designed to accomplish two very specific things in the participants. First, discipline. Faith, true faith, requires discipline. There are times when faith is not easy. It is discipline that allows us to remain faithful in difficult times. The second reason for Lenten Practices is preparation. To prepare to meet the Lord, we must shut out worldly distractions. Fasting is a way of accomplishing this, as is abstinence. It changes our focus from ourselves and the world around us, to His graces.

While we should pray every day, the pursuit of life often gets in the way. During Lent, we are given the opportunity to realign our priorities and offer up prayers.

God, may Your light guide my day. May Your spirit bring us peace. Amen.

French Onion Soup
4 medium Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
4 medium White Onions, thinly sliced
2 Shallots, thinly sliced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
3 tablespoons Butter, divided
1/4 cup Port Wine
4 cups Beef Stock
Black Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons Herb de Provence or to taste
6 slices thick Bread (Texas Toast)
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
6 oz shredded Gruyere Cheese

Peel and thinly slice onions, break apart an set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic cloves, set aside.

In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil and a tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat. Add onions; cook and stirring often until softened, about 12 minutes. Increase heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until a golden brown, about 35 minutes. Add minced garlic; cook 2 minutes longer.

Stir in wine. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid has evaporated, about a minute or 2. Add stock, season with salt, pepper and herbs as desired; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cut thick slices of bread into crouton-cubes. Place bread in a bowl, set aside. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Whisk in garlic powder. Drizzle butter mixture over the bread cubes, toss to coat. Spread bread out on a broiler pan. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Toast croutons for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool until ready to use.

To serve, place six broiler-safe bowls or ramekins on baking sheets. Ladle about 3/4 cup soup into the bowls; top with cheese. Broil four-inches from heat until cheese is melted. Divide croutons; scatter over the melted cheese. Serve and enjoy.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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