Julia Child's Onion Soup, Gratineed
Soupe à l'oignon Gratineed
She is sometimes referred to as the woman who launched a million whisks.
Julia Child's are recipes that I come back to time after time. Her version of Onion soup is one of those.
When asked what she would choose for her last meal?
Usually the response was something like this ~
To begin ~ Foie gras, oysters, a little caviar, then pan-roasted duck, fine wines, Roquefort and Brie; a splendid dessert with Château d'Yquem.
But proportedly her last meal, before she died in her sleep in 2004 just two days short of her 93rd year, was actually onion soup.
JULIA CHILD'S SOUPE A L'OIGNON ~ The Classic Version
From "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", Volume One
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*
Garnish: 6-8 croutes of hard toasted French bread rounds; 1-2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
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 the toast pieces in the bottoms of each bowl, pour the soup over it, and pass the cheese separately for your guests to help themselves.
To gratinée: Place a piece of toasted (sturdy) bread on hot soup (in individual oven proof bowls), sprinkle generously with grated Gruyère and place under broiler until melted and bubbly.
* Over the years Julia demonstrated variations of this recipe; substituting canned beef broth for home made Beef Stock , or incorporating soup base, and swapping out vermouth for other white or red wine, and omitting the cognac.
The recipe as listed is for her Classic Onion Soup, but when I don't have homemade beef stock, I do use canned beef broth with some good quality beef soup base.
Sometimes I make a lighter version using chicken stock, omitting the beef altogether; it's not the classic version but it's still very good.