Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Channeling Julia

Sometimes when it's cold and raining or snowing I just want soup. Maybe a sandwich, but for this post let's just say I want soup. Unfortunately, when I'm at my mom's and I'm elected to make dinner and it's cold and raining, I not only want soup, but I don't want to go to the grocey store.

Although let me interject here that I LOVE going to my mom's grocery store. I often will go there and get all sorts of things that are, shall we say, hard to find in Nowhere, Ohio. This trip I picked up ground lamb, Halloumi, ricotta salata, garbanzo bean flour, quinoa, almond meal, and 2 tubes of tomato paste (so much more convenient than opening a can for 2 teaspoons of tomato paste). My mom's grocery store is one of those upscale suburban grocery stores in an upscale suburb. They have all sorts of fancy and wonderfull ingredients.

But sometimes, I just don't feel like going out in the cold. In fact, Mom and her husband are off in the wilds of Arizona right now just because they don't feel like being cold anymore. And my stepdad for all his very odd little quirks (He prefers canned vegetables. Strange.) has been trying for years to convince my mom that they should relocate to the Southwest. He loves, with a burning passion, New Mexico. He says the dryness of the heat makes the difference. Ok.

This is my stepdad's favorite soup. There is a different Julia Child recipe on my to do list, but I thought I'd start out with something more straightforward and less complicated. This is Julia Child's French Onion Soup recipe courtesy of the Food Network. And although Mom had onions, I did end up having to go out to the store for beef broth, french bread, and Gruyere. But it wasn't hard to twist my arm to go to the grocery store. I just had to add some extra layers. And the smell of this soup cooking was really warming and made everything better.

French Onion Soup
from the Food Network

1/2 stick butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp flour
8 cups beef stock
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1 cup dry white wine
8 1/2 inch thick slices of French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsley grated Gruyere

Heat in 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.


Deborah said...

I have really been craving a good bowl of French onion soup lately. And I hate going to the grocery store, too!!

glamah16 said...

Im a oddity because I love going to the grocery store. I detest department stores because I virtually live in them for work. But grocery shopping is fun.

Pixie said...

I've been wanting to get around to this soup for ages now. Thanks for sharing!

Emiline said...

I absolutely love French onion soup! This looks delicious.
Love the cheese on top. Mmmm.

Sounds like you picked up some cool stuff from the store. I don't think we have hardly any of those items.

Bellini Valli said...

I hope you had a glass of cognac on the side..very French :D