Saturday, January 05, 2008

French Onion Soup

Donna has a great idea to try one new recipe a week this year. When I told my family I'd like to do that, they all responded with enthusiasm.
This week I tried a different recipe for French onion soup. It turned out so well there were no leftovers! And it was fun to go totally from scratch, and try some of the things I'd read about in Michael Ruhlman's book, The Making of a Chef.
First I made beef stock. In a roasting pan in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour I roasted:
5 lbs beef bones
1 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
Then I discarded any charred bits, poured the rest into an 8-qt. stock pot, and added:
1 tomato
2 smashed cloves of garlic
1 tsp. salt
bouquet garni (6 peppercorns, 4 parsley sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs - I subbed 1/2 t. dried parsley, 1/4 t. dried thyme - all tied in a bundle of cheesecloth)
4 to 5 qts. water
And simmered it all for about 3 hours, spooning off any fat and gravy scum as it rose to the surface. Then I strained the stock through a colander lined with cheesecloth, threw away the solids, put the liquid back in the pot, brought it to a low simmer and added:
1 cup of Chardonnay white wine
1 tablespoon of cognac
I then peeled and sliced:
3 lbs. yellow onions
And sauteed them in a large saute pan with:
4 tablespoons of butter
The children and I then took turns stirring the onions as they cooked for about 45 minutes on a medium to medium low heat until they were the color of brown sugar. Then we added the onions to the stock.
While the beef bones and vegetables were roasting, I made three loaves of bread, which I baked when the oven was free again. When the loaves were cool, we sliced the bread, brushed each slice on both sides with olive oil, and toasted the slices for croutons. Unfortunately, the Piggly Wiggly had no gruyere cheese, so we ended up using Swiss cheese instead.
Not everyone in the family likes their crouton and cheese in the soup, so we placed sliced Swiss cheese on each toasted slice of bread, melted it in the oven, and served it separately from the soup. Those that wanted to put their croutons with melted cheese in their soup bowls, and those that didn't dipped their croutons and cheese in their soup as they ate it.

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Blogger Julie said...

Sounds lovely.
Reminds me of the one I made about 5 years ago when my oldest was six.
All six of us loved it but I didn't make it again. Now I wonder why.
Maybe we'll add it to this school list this month for the two older girls to make with me.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Donna Boucher said...

I am so glad you are doing this!!! And what a challenging recipe you chose!!
I am so impressed.
I also happen to love French Onion Soup.

Hooray for a good first week.

You are going to inspire me to try more difficult things.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

Sounds delicious!

7:45 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

I love Onion Soup! Had some at Panera's over the holidays, but havent made it in for ever.

Will you be feeding/cooking for your DIL and her girls, too?

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Heidi ( said...

Oh my gosh! You still have Piggly Wiggly??? I grew up with one, but it was replaced by a Hugo's. I think it's the greatest grocery store name EVER. And I should try this for my hubby--he adores French Onion Soup.

9:53 PM  

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