Almost Julia Child’s French Onion Soup
Who am I to try improve upon Julia’s french onion soup? Well, it was more of an accident than a plan, and I can’t claim it’s definitely an improvement, but I know it is delicious.
Early on I had to follow directions to the letter, because I didn’t trust my own taste buds. Now I have reached the point where I trust my palate to tell me what I like best. I have grown metaphorically and unfortunately literally, according to my bathroom scale, but cooking is even more fun.
Learning from Mentors
Maybe it’s a stretch to call someone I have never met a mentor, but I was lucky enough to watch her groundbreaking television cooking show The French Chef. Actually, my grandmother watched her show and I was just a captive audience but I heard the passion in her voice as she cooked. She wanted anyone that tried her recipe to be successful, because mentors are teachers. I confess that I have had trouble caramelizing onions. I don’t know why, but with her directions something clicked and now I’m confident that I can do it again.
What makes this “Almost” Julia Child’s French Onion Soup?
What did I change? I reduced the cognac because my better half isn’t a fan of the taste of alcohol. Then because we were so hungry, in a rush to get it on the table I omitted the grated raw onion. Regardless, this recipe rocks and is easily the best french onion soup either of us has ever tasted.
- Yield: 4-8 1x
- 6 cups yellow onion – thinly sliced about 1/8″ (2 very large onions)
- 1/2 small yellow onion – raw and grated
- 1 TBL vegetable oil
- 2 TBL unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 3 TBL flour
- 6 cups beef stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 tsp ground sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 TBL cognac
- Black pepper to taste
- 4 oz Parmigiana cheese – grated
- 12 oz swiss cheese – grated
- 1 loaf french bread
- Olive oil
- Slice the onions 1/8th inch
- Shred the cheeses, mix together and set aside
- Bring a dutch oven or 12″ pan to medium low heat. Add the olive oil, then the butter to melt
- Add the onions, toss to coat evenly, cover and cook 20 minutes until soft and transparent
- Uncover, add salt and sugar and stir while cooking until browned and caramelized, about 25 minutes
- Stir in the flour
- Cook 2-3 minutes until it forms a paste (add more butter if necessary)
- Stir in 1 cup of beef stock and raise heat to medium high
- Add the remaining beef stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes
- Taste, adjust salt and pepper and hold on warm
- Preheat oven to 325
- Slice the bread into 1/2″ pieces then trim if necessary to fit the crocks
- Brush both sides with olive oil then bake for 15 minutes on each side
- Ladle the soup into the crocks, cover with bread then completely cover with a thick coating od cheese
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese of each crock
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 325
- Remove and cool for a few minutes before serving
And just one more thing…
Next time I might add the raw onion, or I might not because I can’t imagine it can taste any better!