Soupe à L’oignon Gratinée

With colder temperatures hitting Ontario I have been experiencing the tell-tale signs of nesting – getting ready to hibernate through the winter. For example, this past weekend’s activities included a Friday night beef and mushroom stew, cleaning the whole house, baking rosemary bread and snuggling on the couch watching tv with my beloved.

Oh right, and I was treated to a fabulous birthday dinner on Saturday – let’s call it “Canard a la Cheesler”…seared duck breast with fresh cranberry sauce, sautéed bok choy with mushrooms and rosemary roasted potatoes. Delish!

In case you were wondering, the Cheesler part is my boyfriend’s nickname, which was acquired in a most random drinking game situation. For some reason, it was so ridiculous, it just stuck.

Anyway, I digress.

The second highlight of the weekend was on Sunday, when I made the classic, heartwarming and delicious lunch of French onion soup, or if you want to get fancy, Soupe à L’oignon Gratinée. Most of you fellow Canadians will be able to pronounce that if you made it past grade 6. If not, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

I admit, I have been reading the Julie/Julia Project lately (not the book, the actual blog archives from 2002 – although I have read the book as well. It’s not as good as the blog). It has re-inspired my desire to make complicated French food, however there’s no way I will ever have the gall to tackle most recipes from Mastering. Instead, I will occasionally pick up one of the simpler recipes. Thus, Sunday’s lunch was devised.

I sliced 5 cups of yellow onions, blubbering tearfully the entire time. Cheesler noted from the living room couch that I should try not to get so attached to my vegetables before dismembering them. Ha ha.

I slowly cooked said onions in copious amounts of butter and oil in a covered pot for 15 minutes. I then added salt and sugar (helps the caramelization), and cooked uncovered over medium heat for about 25 minutes. The recipe suggested 30-45, but my onions had already reached a “deep, golden brown colour” by 25. There you have it.

I then added 3 tablespoons of flour and allowed it to cook for about a minute, then removed the pot from heat and added the beef stock. 2 Quarts. I had previously taken a couple of panicky minutes googling a conversion for a “quart”, which turns out to be about 904 ml, coincidentally near the actual volume in a box of store-bought beef stock (900ml). Yay.

I promise this is French Onion Soup and not a pot full of barf.

I brought the soup to the boil and added white wine and a very small amount of salt for seasoning. My experience in the past with French Onion Soup is that it almost always turns out too salty. And the store-bought stock already has tons of salt in it. Plus the salted butter that I put in earlier. I figure it’s better for the soup to be underseasoned because you can add salt when you’re eating it, than to be abhorrently salty.

Just before serving, I was supposed to stir in 3 tbsp of cognac. I realize as I’m writing this that I did not do so. Hmmm. Good thing I made a special trip to the LCBO for a bottle of cognac. A huge bottle. For some reason they don’t make small bottles of cognac. Oh well, the cognac tasted good while I was sipping it with ice later on.

While the soup was simmering away, thickening and reducing ever so slightly, becoming an aromatic pool of brown onioney goodness, I was preparing my croutons. I had saved a quarter of the loaf of rosemary bread I had baked on Friday evening for this very occasion. I melted butter and brushed it on the thin slices of bread, then toasted it under the broiler for a couple of minutes on each side. You see, I had had the forethought to preheat the broiler for the next step – making the Gratinée.

They're home-made!

I ladled the soup into oven-proof bowls and topped them with the croutons, then topped those with slices of Gruyere, then popped them into the oven for a couple of minutes under the broiler.

The cheese got all melty and bubbly and brown and ravishing. Now, is ravishing an appropriate adjective for melty cheese? Some may say “why, no!”. I think it is. Sexy, ravishing melty cheese. Insert Homer Simpson gargly drooling noise here.

Soooooo nummy, and filling too! And, I might add, it was perfectly seasoned. I didn’t even notice the lack of cognac.

For dinner, I concocted a “duck hash” from the previous evening’s leftovers: I took the potatoes and sautéed them in butter , then added the diced remains of duck breast and let it sizzle slightly to render out the fat, in which I then fried up a couple of eggs. I served the whole mess with slices of horseradish cheddar and toast. No, I did not take any pictures of this. While delicious, it was not particularly pretty to look at.

I’m gonna throw this out there for my reader(s)…do you have a suggestion for a recipe you’d like me to cook/take pictures of/blog about? I will tackle almost anything! And luckily, Cheesler will eat almost anything.

Ok, must go now, it is Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire night!


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Categories: Food

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  1. French onion soup grilled cheese | Soph n' Stuff - February 6, 2014

    […] post is about the flavours of french onion soup within grilled cheese. A delicious inception of gooey, melty, onioney […]

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