Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recipes Revisited: French Onion Soup Or: Penicllin Francais

I know as a nice (well sorta) Jewish girl I should make chicken soup when I have a cold or such, but when my throat is raw and I'm snuffling (as I am now) nothing tastes better to me than Julia Child style Soupe A L'Oignon.

I made it for years using her traditional method of slow cooking the onions on the stove top, then simmering them in the broth.

It was always delicious. But then I began to read suggestions for cooking the onions overnight in your slow cooker and I tried it. And it works!

I slice the onions the night before I want the soup and toss them in with a stick of butter or some butter and oil. They cook slowly overnight and the next day are beautifully carmelized. I drain off the fat--you could use it as an onion flavored dip on bread if you wanted to do so--and return the onions to the pot and add a little flour.

Then in goes the broth. Beef broth that is. Some recipes call for chicken but Julia, the queen of French cooking using beef and I do too. There is always a tub of Minor's beef stock in my fridge--the main ingredient is BEEF and it's much lower in salt that most bouillons, but you can use any broth or bouillon you like. The wine is optional--I only use it occasionally.

I let it simmer for a bit or even for the rest of the morning. And then it's time for soup that I think Julia Child herself would have approved of!

FRENCH ONION SOUP (Soupe a l'oignon)Adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (Vol 1) by Julia Child
5 large yellow onions, sliced into rings
8 Tablespoons of butter and/or oil 
3 Tablespoons of flour
2 quarts beef bouillon or broth (HOT!)
1/2 cup white wine  (optional)

Put the butter in your slow cooker and arrange the onions around it. Cook on low for at least 8-12 hours. You can stir it once or twice as it's cooking, but it's fine to leave it overnight.

When the onions are nice and brown remove them from the pot and drain off the oil.

Put the onions back in the pot and toss them with the flour.
Slowly add the beef broth, stirring well to dissolve the flour.
Add the wine if you're using it and cover the pot.

Heat for 10-15 minutes at least, or let it simmer longer if you like. Best served with crusty bread

You can eat it just as it is. Or you can do what I did here-- sprinkle some cheese (parmesan or swiss) on top and heat it in the microwave until the cheese melts.

For real soupe a l'oignon gratinne, put this in an broiler safe pan, cover with slices of French bread and cheese and broil until bubbly.


  1. This is so simple, you really are leaving me no excuses for not trying it.

  2. That's exactly the point of this recipe!



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