archived from my old blog, boyandbride.com
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For the love of onions and Julia Child I endured searing pain to my eyes from lovingly cutting onions for this recipe. Why do onions have to hurt so bad, but taste so good? I have sensitive eyes that water at the slightest irritation so I cried more than Johnny Depp’s character Cry-Baby in the movie of the same name. Sometimes you do these things as a labor of love for a good dish, and I do love onions, caramelized onions in soup, even better. I decided on a soup for this month because of a suggestion from my husband who exclaimed “Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, so six more weeks of winter, you should make soup!”, so that is what I did. We can all feel it regardless of what the groundhog says, the premature blooms that thought it was springtime are in for trouble as the air has cooled significantly. Either way chilly winds for the past few days and incoming weeks have made it perfect soup weather.
French Onion is one of my favorite soups and I wanted to do it right, The Julia Child way in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the quintessential guide for the non French to wrap their heads around the delicacies of what is truly an art form, French food. I would love to study more recipes from her beloved book, I believe many a good cook was made that way. I will say this French Onion Soup is a fairly simple recipe if you follow the instructions carefully, a little work gets you a big reward and the oohs and awws of your family and friends for a beautiful and tasty dish. If you love all things French, Onions, and Julia Child this is the ticket. Eat with friends and don’t skimp on the soup, bread, and cheese; there are only so few wonderful things you can experience each day, make this one.
Adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
5 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts beef stock
1/2 cup of a dry white wine dry white wine
salt and pepper for seasoning
3 tablespoons brandy
Round of Croutes, sliced french bread, toasted
8 oz. of Sliced Swiss Cheese
First add the yellow onions and the butter and oil to a saucepan and slow cook on low for 15 minutes, covered.
Uncover after 15 mins. and add the salt and sugar, also raise heat to medium. The point here is to get a lovely brown caramelization, this is the most important part, we are baking the flavor base for the entire soup. Stirring frequently cook onions for 30 to 40 minutes, until the caramel brown onions have been achieved.
Preheat your oven to 350. Next add your flour and stir together for three minutes, they will turn a deeper brown. Add your wine and then your stock stirring the whole time. Make sure you use your spoon to pull off any bits on the bottom of the pan, all that will add to the flavoring of the soup. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper. Now simmer, partially covered, for another 30-40 minutes. You may need to skim the soup which you can do during this time. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste, Don’t forget whichever cheese you use may have significant salt in it, be wary of adding too much salt to your soup.
While your soup simmers cut your french bread and drizzle with olive oil and toast in oven for 15 min or longer, until the edges have started to brown. Leave your oven on for cheesy good meltiness later.
Stir the brandy into the soup as soon as you are ready to serve. Pour into oven safe soup bowls, leave enough room for the displacement made by your little Croutes. Place two Croutes in your bowl, if the Croutes are large you may need only one. They will float on top very nicely and then cover the top of your bowl with your cheese slices. Place in the oven until you see the cheese melt to your liking. I like it when it starts to brown a little, like on a pizza. Cool slightly and Eat.