Apr 5, 2013

Onion soup

It's one of my favorite soups. It's thick without being starchy, creamy without...cream, rich...without calories (or cognac), simple but refined.  It's a soup I would order in a restaurant, while in France. Not in Poland. I fell in love in it once in Lyon and I'll never forget it. The one I had here, in a restaurant, on Monday...just gave me an appetite for the real thing.

So, I made it yesterday, using my cooking bible by Julia Child. And using onions that had been sitting on the balcony...since Julian bought too many to make onion rings. This is a great idea for utilizing the overstocked vegetable if your cooking plans have changed...or shrunk. Even if you don't like onions that much, make the soup anyway and you'll forget that you're eating onions. I served the soup to my mom, she wasn't quite sure what was in it. She never had onion soup. Hania, often suspicious about my soups, asked for more.

I've followed other recipes before, from various cooking magazines. Not bad. But I consider them different interpretations of the original dish. 

Onion soup is never a quick thing but it's sure worth waiting for.

Recipe adapted from Julia Child

time: 2 1/2 hours


1.5 lbs (675 g) yellow onions
3 Tablespoons (45 g) butter
1 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons (30 g) flour
1 quart (1 liter) boiling chicken stock
1 quart (1 liter) boiling water
1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine or vermouth
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons cognac (Julia did, I skipped it)

rounds of hard toasted French bread

1 to 2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese


Peel onions and slice them thin (I used my German veggie slicer). In a heavy bottom medium/large skillet, heat butter and oil. Add onions. Cover with a lid. Cook slowly on low heat (4 on a scale 1-10) for 15 minutes. 

Uncover, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Raise heat to medium/high (set on 5). Cook onions for 30-40 minutes, mixing them often to prevent sticking to the bottom. When onions reach deep brown color, add flour. Cook and mix for 3 minutes. Take it off the heat. Pour in boiling liquids. Add wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Simmer (set on 4) with the lid partially covering for 30-40 minutes, skimming when necessary. Stop cooking. Correct seasoning. Add cognac (optional).

Serve soup in a small bowl, pour on top of a piece of toasted baguette*. Set cheese on the side for individual use. 

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