From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The Silver Fox has been a truly good sport for the last week or so. Our meals have been soft and lightly seasoned, which, as you might suspect, is the culinary equivalent of purgatory for a man who knows his way around the herb garden. I swear I heard him groan as I was putting together the umpteenth pot of Hawaiian Long Rice this morning, so when he went out for his walk, I hit the pantry shelves and made our favorite version of French onion soup for him. The soup was developed by Julia Child and it was the first of her recipes that I made. It comes from The French Chef Cookbook which recorded and tracked the dishes she made for her first televised cooking program. The instructions, then and now, are easy to follow and make wonderful dishes. This soup is no exception. While the onions must be cooked until they form a slurry, this recipe is as easy as they come and the resulting soup will rival any bistro special. Julia's recipe is featured below, She begins it with this note:
"The onions for an onion soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor which characterizes a perfect brew. You should therefore count on 2-1/2 hours at least from start to finish. Though the preliminary cooking in butter requires some watching, the actual simmering can proceed almost unattended."
Soupe à l’Oignon (Onion Soup)...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Julia Child's The French Chef's Cookbook
1-1/2 pounds (5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts brown stock or canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of water and 1 quart of stock or bouillon
1 cup dry red or dry white wine or dry white vermouth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon driedsage
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons cognac
Rounds of hard-toasted French bread
1 to 2 cup Swiss or Parmesan cheese, grated
1) In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart saucepan, cook onions slowly with butter and oil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until onions are tender and translucent. Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in salt and sugar (the sugar helps the onions to brown). Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown. Sprinkle in flour and stir for 3 minutes.
2) While onions are cooking, bring the stock to a boil. Take onions off heat and stir in boiling stock. Add wine, bay leaf and sageand bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Remove bay leaf and adjust salt and pepper to taste..
3) Just before serving, stir in cognac. Place rounds of bread in a soup tureen or soup cups, pour hot soup over the bread, and pass the cheese separately. Yield:6 to 8 servings.
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