I love learning to cook. I even love the mistakes I make. Might I be so bold as to declare that I am more fond of my mistakes than my triumphs? I learn from my mistakes, but my triumphs might just be happy mistakes that I am unaware
Turning a portion of my lovely beef stock into French Onion Soup (gratineed) had some small errors in it, but turned out acceptable, and even delicious. I followed a recipe from Julia Child contained in her book,
The Way To Cook. The house was filled with the glorious odors of rich beef, caramelized onion and the tiniest undercurrent of thyme.
5 -6 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced (2 lbs)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups beef stock (preferably homemade)
2 -3 tablespoons cognac or good brandy
1/2 cup dry, French Vermouth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper
8 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
4 slices French bread (about 1 inch thick)
Place a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat and add the oil and butter. In a separate pot heat the stock to a bare simmer. When melted add the sliced onions and increase heat to medium. Cook onions until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the salt and sugar to help the onions brown. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring frequently. Once the onions are browned to a deep walnut color (about 40 minutes), add in the flour, stir well, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat
to medium-low and whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. When well incorporated add in the rest of the hot stock, the vermouth and cognac and the thyme. Simmer for 2 hours. Be sure to remember to remove the stems from the thyme.
The soup can be eaten at this point. Or you can do the right thing and gratinee the soup in individual, oven safe bowls. Or you can do what I did and do the whole thing in a casserole. I don't like the way the casserole version
turned out. But plan “B” had to be put in effect because I didn't have individual bowls. Big mistake, but it turned out ok.
If you want to gratinee the soup, cut 4 slices of french bread, or enough for however many people you are serving (up to 8) about one inch thick, and toast them in the oven with a bit of olive oil drizzled over them. Grate the gruyere.
Fill oven safe bowls with soup and float a crouton on top. Sprinkle the gruyere over the top of that and put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned. Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes before serving.
This soup was really impressive, and made a very filling meal with a green salad. The next time I make this soup, I think I will have individual bowls for easier service, and I will add the cognac just before ladling into the individual