Cooking with Alison

Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

In Soups and Salads on January 22, 2010 at pm

People are always surprised when I tell them that I don’t like or collect cookbooks.  I much prefer to use the internet because I always research a dish and compare several different recipes before I try making it.  My issues with cookbooks are: they can be costly, they take up space, I’m unlikely to want to try every single recipe, and I don’t trust that all of the recipes will be great.  I’d love to hear from you if you don’t like or collect cookbooks either!  🙂 I do have one exception though.  For my birthday in 2009, a very good friend of mine gave me Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2.  I Love these books because Julia Child is the only chef that I trust completely.  I can’t wait to make my way through it.  The first recipe that I tried was Julia Child’s classic onion soup.

Classic Onion Soup

by Julia Child from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
makes 6 – 8 servings

3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
5 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (to help carmelize the onions)
3 Tablespoons flour
8 cups beef stock, at a boil
1/2 cup dry white wine (like extra dry vermouth)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons cognac (*Note: I didn’t use this and I didn’t feel like my soup was missing anything*)
Garnish: 6-8 croutes of hard toasted French bread rounds; 1-2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese (*Note:  I used gruyere instead*) (I use a Microplane coarse grater)

Melt the butter and oil over low heat in a heavy soup pot. Stir in the onions, cover, and sweat until they are tender; this will take about 15 to 25 minutes.  Remove the cover, increase heat to medium, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook 30-40 minutes, stirring often, until the onions have turned an even, very deep, golden brown. Sprinkle in the flour; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes.

Off the heat, whisk in the boiling stock. Add the wine. Season to taste. Place the pot back on the heat, bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, partially covered, for 40-60 minutes or more, skim foam from surface as it appears.  Taste and correct seasonings. At this point you may set it aside, uncovered, until you are ready to serve.

When ready to serve, with the soup at a simmer, stir in the cognac.  Place a piece of toasted (sturdy) bread on hot soup (in individual oven proof bowls), sprinkle generously with grated cheese and place under broiler until melted and bubbly.


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