Monday, November 17, 2014

Julia Child's French Onion Soup

I hate to admit it but this is my first time making any of Julia Child's recipes...and that obviously needs to change because I love her and French food.  I have been wanting to make French onion soup for a while now, it started when I went to the beach with a lovely group of friends in early October and they made a very delicious version of the soup and it reminded me that I hadn't made it in many many years (here is a link to my own recipe I made back in 2011).  This is a link to Julia Child's original recipe, I only slightly adapted it.  This last weekend was so relaxing, we had almost no plans and loved every minute of it.  On Saturday we went and saw Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal, it was a dark comedy and I would recommend seeing it...although it isn't a movie I would say is worth owning.  Then on Sunday I had plans to make the Lebanese version of Dolmas, one of my best friends is Lebanese and she has a family recipe we were going to use.  After we bought almost all of the ingredients we were still hunting for jarred (pickled) grape leaves...6 stores later including World Market which always has a ton of international food we still had no grape leaves.  Every store kept saying they stopped carrying them because nobody was buying them.  At this point we decided to give up and reschedule our Dolma making, we are hoping that we can find the grape leaves at a Mediterranean store.  So if you plan to make Dolmas be aware and plan ahead.  Another thing I need to invest in is a set of oven safe ramekins or bowls so I can host a French onion soup night!  Onto the recipe!

Serves 6

The Ingredients

5 -6 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons flour

5 cups beef stock

1 cup beef consomme

1 cup white wine

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

salt and pepper

14 Swiss cheese slices

1/2 raw yellow onion

3 tablespoons cognac

6 slices French bread (about 1 inch thick)

4 tablespoons olive oil, for drizzling

The Process

1.  Place heavy bottom stock pot or dutch over over medium-low heat.  Add 1 Tbs cooking oil, 2Tbs butter to pot.

2.  Add sliced onions and stir until they are evenly coated with the oil.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until they are very tender and translucent.

3.  To brown or caramelize the onions turn heat under pot to medium or medium high heat.  Add 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt and continue to cook uncovered, stirring frequently until the onions have browned and reduced significantly.

4.  Once caramelized, reduce heat to medium-low and add 3 Tbs flour to the onions.  Brown the flour for about 2-3 minutes trying not to scorch it. (If the flour does not form a thick paste, you can add a bit more butter here).

5.  Stir in about 1 cup of warm stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up all of the cooked-on bits.  Add the rest of the stock, consomme, wine, sage, and bay leaf to the soup.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

6.  To make the "croutes" (toasted bread), heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Drizzle each side of the bread slices with a bit of olive oil and place on baking sheet.  Cook the croutes for 15 minutes in oven on each side (30 minutes total).

7.  Check the soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove the bay leaf (if you can find it).  At this point you can add the 2-3 Tbs cognac and grate the 1/2 raw onion into the soup.  Add a 2 slices (ripped apart) of the Swiss cheese directly into the soup and stir

8.  Transfer to 6 oven safe bowls.  Place 1 toasted bread on top of each bowl of soup, then place 2 slices of Swiss cheese over each bowl in a thick layer on top of the bread making sure to cover the edges of the toast to prevent burning.

9.  Place all bowl on a cookie sheet (to prevent spilling) in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Then turn on broiler and brown cheese well.

10.  Let cool for a few minutes.  Bon Apetit!

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