Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ode to Julia


Ever see that movie Julie & Julia where Julie Powell buys Julia Child's book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking?"  If you haven't, this is a true story where a woman buys the book and cooks her way through it, all the while blogging her journey.  You know what?  I have that book too!  But there's no way in the world I'm cooking my way through it.  I just wanted to make a few of her recipes, mostly soup.

I have been craving French Onion Soup for a while now, especially since it's been cold here in good ol' West Texas. So I cracked open Julia's French bible, and there it was.  The French Onion Soup.  Why would a soup made from onions be so special?  Why would anyone want a mostly brothy soup? Well, my friends, I'll tell you why.  As you gently coax rich flavor from some seemingly boring onions, you embark on a flavorful journey that far exceeds your soup expectations. Then you finish it with a rich beefy broth and top it with a cheesy crouton.  Pure bliss.  The seemingly humble onion becomes king for a day in this soup.  You'll see.  

I mostly stuck with her recipe, except I didn't finish it with cognac and I added mushrooms.  Hope she's not turning over in her grave.  I just can't help myself.  I'm very mischevious.

Bon appetit!

FRENCH ONION SOUP
as adapted from Julia Childs
5 C onions, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 C beef stock
3 T butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 T flour
1/2 C wine (white or red, your choice)
A small crusty baguette, sliced
Swiss cheese slices

In a large dutch oven or stockpot, cook the onions in the butter and oil over medium low heat covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and raise the heat to medium.  Stir in the salt and sugar.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, stiring frequently, until the onions are very golden brown.

Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms in another skillet in olive oil until tender.

When the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir.  Add in the wine and deglaze the pan. Add in the beef stock, mushrooms, and garlic and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, dry out the baguette slices in a 250 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.  Once they are crispy, remove them from the oven and turn on the broiler.  Ladle the soup into bowls.  Place a baguette or two on top of the soup.  Place some cheese slices over the soup and the baguettes and place under the broiler to melt.

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