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French onion soup: for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or a midnight snack.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 Leave a Comment

Now that fall has finally arrived in Colorado, (I know, I was griping about the neverending freakishly warm summerish weather for weeks and now I kind of miss it)it's a good time to make soup.

Last night I pulled out Cooking with Julia & Jacques -- Child & Pepin -- and in about an hour whipped up a darn good French onion soup. A few simple ingredients for a savory dinner.

Julia writes that when she was in Paris, she would go to the open markets at 4 a.m. By 6 a.m., everyone would head into the cafes for a warm cup of French onion soup and a glass of red wine. It was cold, and they needed to warm up!

You'll need: onions (I used yellow), butter, and beef or chicken broth (I used beef). That's it. I added some thyme from my garden that's still alive. Julia's recipe below calls for more, but I didn't have cognac and can't use flour, and Jacques' recipe was a bit simpler. Oh! And I added a pinch of chia seeds to help thicken the soup a bit. I overheard some ladies at Sunflower Market saying chia seeds -- yes, like the chia pets -- are the new superfood: full of protein and omegas and sugar-slowing agents. They apparently are a good thickening agent if you can't use gluten.

Plus a baguette and some melty, nutty Gruyere cheese to top it off. I used Udi's gluten-free bread and Manchego cheese, which is sheep's milk cheese and doesn't offend my allergies.

Just make sure to cook the onions thoroughly, like 40 minutes or so. Mine could have been softer.

Here's Julia Child's recipe, from the Food Network:


* 1/2 stick butter
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2-1/2 pounds)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 8 cups homemade beef stock, or good quality store bought stock
* 1/4 cup Cognac, or other good brandy
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 8 (1/2-inch) thick slices of French bread, toasted
* 3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyere


Heat a heavy saucepan over moderate heat with the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Blend in the salt and sugar, increase the heat to medium high, and let the onions brown, stirring frequently until they are a dark walnut color, 25 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. When well blended, bring to the simmer, adding the rest of the stock, Cognac, and wine. Cover loosely, and simmer very slowly 1 1/2 hours, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Taste for seasoning

Divide the soup among 4 ovenproof bowls. Arrange toast on top of soup and sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and place under a preheated broiler until cheese melts and forms a crust over the tops of the bowls. Serve immediately.