Saturday, October 25, 2008

French Onion Soup

Today I made a batch of French Onion Soup. This is my favorite soup of all time (being French Canadian). My father usually orders this when he eats out and it is offered. Even though this soup only has 6 ingredients (for the basic soup), it is the technique that makes it exquisite. I have read, but not verified, that French Onion Soup was the very last meal that Julia Child ate before she passed away in 2004.

I make this recipe in my 13 quart La Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven.

Slice 10 pounds of onions. Coat dutch oven with olive oil and heat. Add onions. Basically, the pan should be full to the top with onions. Turn heat to high. the idea now is to cook the onions until they are browned and caramelized and about 1/10 their original volume. You will notice that there will be a considerable amount of juice that needs to be cooked out. Today this took me about 2 hours. I have include some pictures of the progress. At this point I add 1/4 cup sugar and this helps the onion during the final browning process. When the onions are dry and the bottom of the pan is browning it is time to deglaze the pan with 1 cup of dry sherry. Bring to boil. Now add 3 quarts beef stock and 3 quarts chicken stock (low sodium), bring to a boil and you are done.
Now, you can eat as is (as Steve is doing right now) or serve it with the classical garnish, a topper of a toasted crouton (toasted sliced day old baguette) and then sprinkled with shredded Gruyere (Swiss) cheese and placed under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
In Julia Child's words, 'Bon Appetite!'

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