Soupe à l’oignon
Last night’s dinner was french onion soup. I used Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I think its fair to say you either have that cookbook, or know someone who does so you can borrow it from them. I am just a bit too lazy to type it all out word for word. Actually HERE it is, someone else has done the work for us both. That quiche recipe over there also happens to be perfect in my opinion, fluffy and delicious. Ok, back to soup.
Cutting all the onions just helped to reinforce the fact that I MUST go buy a steel for sharpening my knife. It’s by no means a cheap knife, but its ability to slice through 1.5 pounds of onions with little effort has faded. I am also a bit more scared to use it when its dulled. I did manage to slice 5 cups of onions, although looking at my onion supply you wouldn’t know it. I only had to quit two times part way through to let my eyes stop tearing up.
The smell of them cooking and caramelizing filled my home for the rest of the night. For the record I started this whole soup making adventure before lunch time. I read some other people reviews that stated they found the onions look much longer than the suggested time to brown. I followed the book exactly and I found that once I got to the uncovered cooking part they only took 30 minutes. I don’t know why these other people onions took so long, maybe they used a lower heat or a smaller saucepan. I used a large one with lots of surface area.
I learned I need to start making my own broth. I made some chicken broth after my roast chicken was picked over, but I have no beef broth. I had to use store bought and the selection was pretty sad looking. I opted for a low sodium kind that came in a tetra pack, figuring I could add more of my own salt to season, but it would be difficult to get that salt lick flavor out if it came like that. It also seems to have simple ‘home style’ ingredients. Next time, when I have a broth of my own, I think the soup will taste better as the broth was fairly blah. Even after seasoning the broth lacked any sort of complexity to its flavor. I guess that it was it is supposed to be like only containing beef and vegetables.
I had some left over french bread from a batch I baked last week so I thawed that out and made some croutons for the top. About 1inch slices baked until dry, then brushed with a bit of olive oil infused with crushed garlic cloves and baked again until lightly golden.
The pot of soup filled 4 of my french onion soup bowls perfectly. I floated two crouton slices on each and topped them with gruyère. I think I should have left them in the oven to broil a wee bit longer to get a more golden crispy crust, but hunger pains were kicking in. I had been smelling the soup all day and dreaming about it since the night before. All in all it was pretty good for a first effort at making french onion soup at home from ‘almost’ scratch. Sorry about my crooked photo. I think I may have had my wine goggles on once this stage arrived.
Because I needed some sort of a light vegetable side to go with it I threw together a salad of green lettuce, red onion, granny smith apple (I had one left) and chopped walnuts. The dressing was a simple balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over the top. I had actually made the same salad for work a couple nights before and enjoyed it so I thought I would make it again before the lettuce wilted in the fridge.