Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Onion Soup Gratinee (Page 114)


  • Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B+

This recipe came off the list generated by the random number generator. I sliced onions then cooked them slowly in butter and olive oil until they were nice and caramelized. Then I added some flour, cooked for a few minutes, then added some of my homemade beef stock, vermouth, a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaf, and salt and pepper. I simmered for 30 minutes, then added some Cognac and Worcestershire sauce. Meanwhile I sliced a baguette, brushed the slices with butter then toasted them in the oven. When I took them out I immediately rubbed them with cut garlic. I topped the pot of soup with the toasted bread, then sprinkled with grated Gruyere and Parmigiano-Reggiano and drizzled with melted butter. I baked the soup in the oven for 20 minutes, then broiled until the cheese was golden. I like French Onion Soup in theory, but it's a food that I almost never eat because it is practically always bad when you order it in a restaurant. This recipe was pretty good though. The homemade beef stock gave it a nice flavor, and the broth wasn't terribly greasy (which is a common French Onion Soup issue). I always have a hard time with soggy bread, and the undersides of the bread slices were indeed soggy. But the tops of the bread slices were so perfectly crispy and cheesy that it almost made up for it! The balance of onion flavor to cheese was appropriate in this recipe -- both came through clearly. And the vermouth, Cognac, and Worcestershire sauce added nice depth to the flavor. Overall it was a solid version of French Onion Soup. Certainly better that what you get in most restaurants!

This recipe isn't online.

I have made some pretty shockingly unhealthy food from The Book lately. Take this soup for instance. The recipe serves 4 people and calls for 3/4 of a stick of butter and a cup and a half of cheese! Considering that most people would eat this as just one component of a meal, that's a lot of fat! Such things don't particularly worry me. My special gentleman and I are both pretty thin, with healthy hearts and low blood pressure. I just find it funny. Last night, for instance, I made a pound cake from The Book and also a loaf of brioche. Both were very tasty, and late in the evening my special gentleman and I were snacking away. Over dinner tonight he was commenting again how tasty both items were. Somehow we ended up in a conversation about how much butter went into those two items. His guess for the amount of butter in the cake and the brioche together: two sticks! Hahahaha. Needless to say, he doesn't bake.
"No," I said, "Not two."
"More?" He asked, looking a little scared.
"Nope. More."
It went on like this. When he guessed "Five?" he looked truly horified.
The answer was five and a half. Yup, almost a pound and a half of butter. He looked so shocked at that point that I didn't have the heart to tell him about the 9 eggs and more than 3 cups of sugar that I had also used. I don't typically worry too much about these things, but even I was feeling a little guilty as I dumped a cup of heavy cream into our dinner for tonight. Left to my own devices, I tend to cook pretty healthy food. So the healthier stuff from The Book I made long ago. Many of the things that are left are, well... not so healthy. For instance, I still haven't made the French toast recipe in The Book that called for the bread to be soaked in heavy cream and then deep-fried!

I guess it's a good thing we run a lot!


Kim - Easy French Food said...

I make this easy French onion soup. It only uses three tablespoons of olive oil (no butter) for 2 pounds of onions. I'm always surprised at how little oil you can get away with to cook onions - just have to be careful to stir quite a bit, especially at the start. Another thing to do with the topping for this soup is to cube the bread and toast it in the oven - kinda helps with the soggy problem (my husband hates that too). Cheers and happy cooking!

Teena said...

Thanks for the recipe -- I am interested to see how different the taste will be without all the butter that went into the recipe I made!