Julia Child's French Onion Soup Recipe
The weather has gotten a lot warmer in Florida, but a bowl of French Onion Soup still sounded wonderful! Julia Child's French Onion Soup to be exact. But first, I have to brag on my kids and their PERFECT Christmas presents. Our daughter, the artsy one of the family, and her husband, the techno guy, gave me a 9-disc set of Julia Child's cooking shows. I love it and have so enjoyed watching them EVERY chance I get. Our son, the practical law student, gave me something I really needed.....2 'Ove' Gloves. They are wonderful and I have not burned my hands since Christmas, it used to be at least a weekly occurence! With Julia's video "Your Own French Onion Soup' playing and my "Ove" gloves at the ready, it was time to cook.
Julia, of course, slices her onions with a knife; a mandoline was my tool of choice! I have experimented with onions and I think just regular yellow onions are the best. Sweet onions are too sweet for the soup and red onions add a less than desirable color to the finished product. One thing I learned from her show is that you first need to cook the onions, before you brown them. I heated the butter and the oil in my dutch oven, added the onions, stirred them around until coated then covered them with the lid and reduced the heat.
While the onions were simmering, I made Julia's "croutes" (toasted bread), I drizzled each side of the bread slices with a bit of olive oil and place them on a silpat lined baking sheet. I baked the croutes for 30 minutes in 325 degree oven, turning after 15 minutes. After about 20 minutes, I removed the lid, gave the onions a quick stir, then sprinkled in some sugar and salt, turned up the heat and carmelized the onions.
Once the onions were browned and reduced significantly, I reduced the heat to medium-low and added 3 tablespoons flour. I stirred them around for about 2-3 minutes trying not to scorch the onions and the flour. While I was stirring the onions, I warmed the stock in the microwave. See, I can multi-task! When the flour was browned, I stirred in 1 cup of warm stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up all of the cooked-on bits. I added the rest of the stock, the wine, the sage, and the bay leaf to the pot and simmered for 30 minutes, covered. I turned on my broiler to low and removed the bay leaf and added 3 tablespoons of cognac and grated half 1/2 of a raw onion into the soup, this gives it a richer flavor. Since dinner was just for the two of us, I placed one "croute" in each of our soup bowls, ladled in some soup and topped it off with some grated Fontina cheese. Under the broiler they went for just a couple of minutes, I watched them closely. When the cheese was bubbly and lightly browned, I used my 'Ove' gloves and easily removed the bowls to our serving plates. We did let them cool slightly before enjoying. Oh, I cannot wait for the leftovers tomorrow!
French Onion Soup
(from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
- 5 cups yellow onions -- thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 6 cups beef stock
- 1 cup wine (dry red or white)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- salt and pepper -- to taste
- 12 ounces swiss cheese -- grated
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese -- grated
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 3 tablespoons cognac
- 8 French Baguette slices
- 4 tablespoons olive oil -- for drizzling
Place heavy bottom stock pot or dutch over over medium-low heat. Add 1 Tablespoon cooking oil and 2Tablespoons butter to pot. Add sliced onions and stir until they are evenly coated with the oils. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until they are very tender and translucent.
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.
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).
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, wine, sage, and bay leaf to the soup. Simmer for 30 minutes.
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).
Check the soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Remove the bay leaf (if you can find it).
Transfer to a casserole dish. At this point you can add the 2-3 Tbs cognac and grate the 1/2 raw onion into the soup. Add a few ounces of the swiss cheese directly into the soup and stir.
Place the toasted bread in a single layer on top of the soup.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese in a thick layer on top of the bread making sure to cover the edges of the toast to prevent burning.
Drizzle with a little oil or melted butter.
Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Turn on broiler and brown cheese well.
Let cool for a few minutes.