Oct 11, 2008

French Onion Soup


There's a whole post stewing in my brain about Julia Child.  After reading her book about her time in France while traveling through Germany and Paris, I have a new-found appreciation for the woman who was hitherto just a funny voice on an old show before my time.

I've been pouring through the tome that is "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and decided to take a crack at the old classic, French Onion Soup.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite have the right bread or cheese to properly cap-off and melt over the ramekin, but that'll be saved for next time.  If I can find the classic little dishes they serve this in, I'll have to secure a couple which will sit unused 364 days of the year in our cupboard.

Julia's recipe calls for both dry white wine and cognac.  Not having either, I ended up using a Muscat wine and brandy (which I was assured is a close enough match to cognac).  Unfortunately, I ended up with a wine-heavy taste that overpowered all the work I did to get the onions into a nice, rich brown state.  Using vegetable broth instead of beef probably also worked against me a little.  

Still, it was a cold day and the meal was well appreciated.

French Onion Soup
  • 1.5 lbs or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 3 tbspn. butter
  • 1 tbspn. oil
  • 3 tbspn. flour
  • 2 quarts brown stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
Cook the onions slowly in the oil and butter in a covered 4 quart saucepan for 15 minutes.

Raise to a medium heat and stir in 1 tspn. salt and 1/4 tspn. sugar.  Cook for about 40 minutes or until the onions have turned a deep brown.  You don't need to stir too often until the onions have released most of their moisture and will begin to burn if not watched.  You can hear the sizzle change from a moist to dry.

Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 3 minutes.

Take the onions off heat and add the stock (boiling).  Add the wine and season to taste.  Make sure you use a wooden spoon to deglazed the onion bits burnt to the bottom of the pan.  Simmer partially covered for about 40 minutes.  Skim off fat and debris.

Just before serving, add the cognac.

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