November 4, 2009

I’ve not really been in the mood to cook the last two days. When I feel this way, I turn to the old stand-bys and onion soup is certainly one of the easiest, cheapest, tastiest dinners around. Here’s an quick, incredibly easy, dinner using one of those 6c bags of stock in your freezer.

I started making this recipe back in college, when I was living on a very tight food budget. Tonight, I supplemented with an arugula salad with crispy bacon, minced shallot, olive oil and lemon juice. And a lovely fresh baguette baked up earlier today. Oh, and a Cote de Rhone. That was critical.

It’s renewed my zip and I’m going to be ready to cook dinner again tomorrow.

French Onion Soup a la Julia
Serves 4

2 lbs. onion
4 Tbls butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbls flour
1/2 c white wine
6 c rich chicken stock
2-3 Tbls Cognac
8 Baguette slices
1/4 lb. Parmesian Cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (shredded will work here, but grated will not)

Equipment: four oven-proof bowls

Cut the onions in half vertically. Lay the onion halves down on the cutting board and slice across the onion, into half-moons, as thinly as possible.

Heat the butter in a large, heavy stock pan. Add the onions and get them sweating and breaking down. Sprinkle salt, pepper and sugar over the onions, toss and allow them to caramelize.

Add the flour and cook until everything turns nice and brown – about five minutes.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the good bits.

Add the chicken stock and allow the soup to simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the cognac and bring back to a simmer.

Preheat the broiler.

Slice a baguette and put two pieces of bread in the bottom of each bowl. Place the bowls on a sheet pan lined in parchment paper.

Fill the bowls with the soup and place the shaved cheese across the surface of the soup/bread.

Slip under the broiler for two or three minutes, watching carefully, until the cheese bubbles.

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