December 7, 2010

french onion soup

I fell in love with Julia Child after watching Julia and Julia last year, so Eric bought me Mastering the Art of French Cooking (mostly in hopes that I would give him a break occasionally and cook more!). I've been craving French onion soup lately and decided to break open the book and make Julia Child's version. It's actually really simple - just requires a lot of time cooking the onions.





Soupe a l'Oignon


1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
A heavy-bottomed 4-quart covered saucepan
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (helps the onions to brown)
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of boiling water and 1 quart of stock or bouillon
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cognac
Rounds of hard-toasted French bread (see following recipe)
1 to 2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese


Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in the covered saucepan for 15 minutes.

Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle the flour and stir for three minutes.

Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes of more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning.
(*) Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Then reheat to the simmer.

Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into a soup tureen or soup cups over the round of bread and pass the cheese separately. (Or, use the instructions below for a baked cheese top -
Soupe a’ L’Oignon Gratinee)

Croutes - hard-toasted French Bread


12-16 slices of French bread cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick
Olive oil or beef drippings
A cut clove of garlic


Place the bread in one layer in a roasting pan and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about half an hour, until it is thoroughly dried out and lightly browned.

Halfway through the baking, each side may be basted with a teaspoon of olive oil or beef drippings; and after baking, each piece may be rubbed with cut garlic.

Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinee


The preceeding onion soup
A fireproof tureen or casserole or individual onion soup pots
2 ounces Swiss cheese cut into very thin slivers
1 tablespoon grated raw onion
12 to 16 rounds of hard toasted French bread
1/2 cups grated Swiss, or Swiss and Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Bring the soup to the boil and pour into the tureen or soup pots. Stir in the slivered cheese and grated onion. Float the rounds of toast on top of the soup, and spread the grated cheese over it. Sprinkle with the oil or butter. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, then set for a minute or two under a preheated broiler to brown the top lightly. Serve immediately.

**I was HUNGRY and couldn't wait another 20 minutes to eat, so I just added some cheese to the soup, floated one or two rounds of toast on top, added more cheese on top, put it in the broiler for a minute or two and voila! Delicieux! Also, please note that the recipe is supposed to be good for 6-8 servings. I had 6 people over for dinner and it only allowed for one serving each (and there were 2 people who had extra small servings) - I would 1 1/2x or 2x the recipe next time.

I had a ton of cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving as well as some apples from our CSA, so I made a cranberry apple crisp for dessert.





1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature


5 large Jonathan apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, sliced
4 Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds), peeled, sliced
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces


To prepare the topping:Mix first 3 ingredients in bowl. Add butter; rub with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

To prepare the fruit:Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Mix apples, cranberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon in large bowl. Add 6 tablespoons butter and toss. Transfer to dish.

Crumble topping over fruit. Bake until apples are tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool slightly. Serve with sauce.

To prepare the caramel sauce:Stir sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with brush dipped into water and swirling pan. Remove from heat. Gradually add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir over low heat until caramel melts. Add butter and stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Serve Caramel Sauce warm.

**I didn't make the caramel sauce - just served it with some ice cream and it was very tasty!

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