Day 278: French Onion Soup

French+onion+soup Day 278: French Onion Soup
You guys! I don’t even know what to say. Except that I wish I had outed you all with the lure of a shiny new kitchen toy a long time ago.

I have been rushing to my laptop every 10 minutes all day long to check for new comments. Even now, at almost midnight, we’re trying to watch a movie and I still can’t put it away – the movie has subtitles, and Mike is reading them to me, thats how bad I have it. It’s so fantastic to hear voices back, and I’m just immensely flattered to know so many of you check in here daily. And I love all your dinner ideas – I could finish off the next 87 days with inspiration from these comments, I’m sure.

87 days!

Clearly I did not think this little contest through though, or maybe I didn’t believe I’d get as many comments as I did. I should have run it for only a day or weekend, but wanted to make sure anyone who was busy over the weekend or generally only cruised food blogs from work would have a chance too. So, sorry if your odds are getting slimmer.

But. Back to dinner.

When I saw “Sugar Onions” for sale at the (Crossroads) farmers’ market I couldn’t just leave them there. They actually helped me justify my purchase of two cheesy (pun kind of intended) French onion soup bowls circa 1972 that I bought at a garage sale last summer for 25 cents.

And since I had a chunk of Gruyère left over from the party Thursday night, dinner was a no-brainer. Besides, there is no better time to make French onion soup than in fall, slowly cooking or braising the onions while the boy and the dog swish around the back yard in ankle-deep leaves and it’s just a little too chilly to leave the windows and sliding door open without Mike’s Motörhead hoodie and thick woollies.

I looked around at various French onion soup recipes and settled on Julia Child’s. I mean, if anyone knows how to make French onion soup, it must be Julia. (Note: If you have not yet read Julie & Julia, sign it out of the library today.) The one in Saveur looks phenomenal, but the over half cup of butter made me choke (and drool) a little.

But then it kind of took on a life of its own anyway; not to second guess Julia, but I found a teaspoon of salt a little too much to add at the beginning (you can always add more at the end, but it’s almost impossible to de-salt soup), and I didn’t have white wine or vermouth. Or Cognac. Besides, Mike quit drinking in June (completely, and has lost at least 20 pounds since. Bah. I have practically quit drinking by association and haven’t lost no 20 pounds) and since then will not so much as eat anything boozy. I did have about half an ounce of sherry in the bottom of a bottle though, and so added it to the onions at the very end of their cooking, so that it cooked off quickly, leaving behind just a bit of flavour. Then I completely forgot to add the flour. Looking back (I’m just realizing it now) the soup was perfectly fine, and didn’t need to be any thicker. As for the cheese, I’ve seen recipes call for as much as 1 cup grated per bowl (yum), but it’s the sort of thing you can gauge by taste. I used a Microplane grater, which produces airy strands, so there really wasn’t much. (The Saveur recipe calls for not only all that butter, but a cup of cheese per serving. This is the sort of thing that might convince me to become a full-time athelete, the kind who has to consume upwards of 10,000 calories per day for training purposes.)

Mike swore a little while eating this, and I’m pretty sure he loves me a little bit more than he did this afternoon.

French+onion+soup+unbaked Day 278: French Onion Soup
French+onion+soup+unbaked+with+cheese Day 278: French Onion Soup
French+onion+soup+2 Day 278: French Onion Soup

Julie & Julia’s French Onion Soup

This serves 2-3; double everything (you could get away with not doubling the butter and oil, unless you want to) to serve more.

2-3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
a drizzle of canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
pinch of salt & sugar
a glug of sherry or 1/2 cup white wine
1 can beef broth or bouillion, plus 1 1/2 cans water (or about 3 cups of beef, veg or onion stock)
a few springs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
2-3 thick slices crusty French bread, or twice as many slices of baguette
1 garlic clove (optional)
grated Gruyère, Emmental aged Gouda or old white cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano, for sprinkling (1/4-1 cup)

Heat a drizzle of oil and small lump of butter in your soup pot set over medium heat, and saute the onions for about 15 minutes, until golden. Add the salt and sugar and continue to cook until they are a fairly deep golden. Add the sherry if you’re using it, and cook for another minute, until it more or less evaporates. Otherwise add the wine, then the stock, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes. Pull out the bay leaf and thyme stems if there are any, and season the soup with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, toast the bread slices, and rub them with a cut clove of garlic if you like. Turn on the broiler. Divide the soup among 2-3 ovenproof bowls set on a baking sheet and top each with a toast, then sprinkle with the grated cheeses. Broil for a minute or two, just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.

W of course did not go for this and ate chicken tortellini (the fresh stuff from Safeway) tossed with pesto (I had some in the fridge).

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October 04 2008 11:14 pm | cookies & squares and soup

23 Responses to “Day 278: French Onion Soup”

  1. Roberta Klak on 05 Oct 2008 at 4:54 am #

    Hi Julie
    I love your blog and read every day! I live in Edmonton so I love the fact that you are an Albertan as well! There is only two of us and I can’t cook as much as I would like as we can’t eat it all. I do make a lot of the things from your blog and loved the zucchini brownies the best. I make all the breads you post. Hope you care on next year! Thanks again!

  2. Bonnie on 05 Oct 2008 at 6:34 am #

    I totally agree – Julia Child’s french onion soup is the best. I was just working out what to cook for the next week and soup was on my mind but I hadn’t decided which one to make. Well thank you very much again Julie — french onion it is! I’m glad to see so many comments — hope this keeps you going. There are a lot of us who come here every day (and receive the blog by e mail) — I guess we just don’t let you know we’re here often enough! So thanks again for sharing your menus and recipes with us every day.

  3. Pat from Windsor, Ontario on 05 Oct 2008 at 6:39 am #

    I, too, kept checking your website to read all the comments. I was thrilled for you; I hope all the first timers don’t go back in the broom closet now that there is no contest. It seems, Julie, that you have a large fan base all of whom will go into “dinnerwithjulie” withdrawal after day 365. As one person mentioned, I, too, have always felt that this daily blog would make a great book ~ I hope you’re considering it.
    As you know, since last November I have lost 106 pounds. I suggested a while ago to you that we should get a group of interested people and form a “losingwith julie” group on the internet, and then go on The Ellen Show like the 3 women she interviewed about 6 months ago. You are an inspiration and your blog always has helpful hints on how to cook healthier and become healthier. Let’s do it!!!

  4. Cathy D on 05 Oct 2008 at 9:55 am #

    Hey there,

    Well done on the contest! When I looked at the comments yesterday I went “wow, 102 comments!” and THEN I saw your contest. Good stuff.

    This begs a question. I don’t have an electric crockpot. What I have I think is a dutch oven (the heavy heavy one) that I got at Killian for Brad’s birthday. It camethisclose to going in the yard sale (you remember THE yard sale!!!.

    Perhaps I’ll be inspired to buy a real one..or… is mine the “real” original one and the electric ones are the new ones copied from that?

    Potato, potaaaato? What’s the story (I know you’ll be able to enlighten me :)

    Anyhoo, I am on the hunt for a set of these old fashioned french one soup bowls – let me know if you see any!!

    Cheers
    Cathy
    Cheers
    Cathy

  5. supersu on 05 Oct 2008 at 10:46 am #

    losing with julie group….

    i’m in!

    would be a great thing…

    let us know if you would consider it!

  6. corinne - please? on 05 Oct 2008 at 11:17 am #

    Hi – I have 2 crockpots, as I take one to our skicabin in the winter, and it is very well used…. (so I could use a fancy schmancy replacement :)
    I love your blog – just got onto it about a month ago, but now when its the “I wonder what we should have for dinner?” time of day – this is the first place I go!!

    I am making an official request for year 2!!

  7. Melanie on 05 Oct 2008 at 11:25 am #

    That soup looks divine – my mouth is totally watering. I think we’re gonna have to make it today!!! Thanks for all the book suggestions – I just got the Memphis BBQ one not too long ago and my husband is longing to build us a smoker. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is built before the rest of our yard is developed!
    Take care,
    Mel

  8. sue.d on 05 Oct 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    hey speaking of soup, just made the cream of mushroom from awhile ago now. Perfect, especially the next day. Wow, it takes me back, except that this soup was way better than the horrid canned stuff from ages ago. Must go and get going on the onion soup now. mmmmm.

  9. Christina on 05 Oct 2008 at 3:07 pm #

    Okay, I don’t want to be a brown noser and post 2 days in a row but this is the 3rd time I’ve been to the website today to look at that Onion Soup!! I’ll have to borrow my mom’s old 70’s soup bowls to make this soup this week!! It looks awesome and it’s one of my favorites that I’ve just never had the guts to make, the craving is just too much after seeing those pictures!! YUMMMMMY!!

  10. Pat on 05 Oct 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    Hi Julie and blog readers

    I, too, am really enjoying your blog. I saw one of your cookbooks in my local library when I was there on Friday, and it looked as though it had been well read. (I read Julie and Julie this summer and found it both entertaining and informative.)

    My latest culinary adventure was making “pulled pork.” I had the oven on for at least six hours, but fortunately the low temperature didn’t heat up the house too much–we were enjoying a beautifully warm days here in Calgary.

    I’m going to try the onion soup recipe next week.

  11. Colleen on 05 Oct 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    I guess I’m jumping onto the “comment bandwagon” (wouldn’t want you to suffer withdrawl now, eh?). I am completely unsurprised about the number of people who are fans of your blog. I know I’ve recommended it to almost everyone I know!
    This French Onion soup looks absolutely divine – I must try it as soon as I can get into town for onions and cheese!

  12. The Uphill Gardener on 05 Oct 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    I do so love onion soup but I’ve never seen a recipe quite like this one before – so I’m dying to give it a whirl. Just need to let the weather here get a little colder first, in order to ensure I enjoy it that little bit more! I love the spindley-cheese! It looks lovely. I like mine a little more robust normally so I go for vintage cheddar with an onion soup – seems like a waste of good cheddar, I know!

    To echo the other sentiments – I do hope you keep going beyond your 365. I didn’t start reading until the last few months and I’m hooked. This blog is fantastic for meal ideas, I just love it!
    ~T.U.G.

  13. Bev on 05 Oct 2008 at 5:49 pm #

    Hi!
    Being “middle-aged” as they say, it took me awhile to figure out how to even add a comment! So here goes….absolutely love your food blog…have told all my friends about you. I so enjoy peeking into your world and feeling absolutely normal when I do! We too have eaten cereal for dinner! My children are grown now but the challenges come trying to cook for two once again. Will miss you once the 365 days up!

  14. Rose on 05 Oct 2008 at 8:46 pm #

    Hi Julie,
    I read your blog every day and enjoy it so much. I’ve never used a crock pot before! Love your recipes but I think I’ll have to stay away from what seems a high calorie onion soup.

    I’ve recently lost 30 pounds and would be into a group if you get it going…..

    Rose

  15. Carolann on 06 Oct 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    DON’T STOP WRITING – WE ALL NEED YOU!!!!!!!

  16. robyn on 06 Oct 2008 at 3:48 pm #

    Do you know the calorie content of the soup?

  17. Melanie on 06 Oct 2008 at 7:50 pm #

    Guess what we had for lunch yesterday??? Oh yes – and was it delicious. I had no idea french onion soup was so easy to make… Of course, the squishy, crusty french loaf and small pile of melty cheese was ok too! Great recipe – thank you so much for sharing!

  18. Cheryl on 07 Oct 2008 at 11:03 am #

    Morgan and I are in the same stopped drinking game. He’s back at fighting weight and I’m still struggling with all the baby weight. Of course, to really lose it I would need to stop the cookies and that is not happening!

  19. Pizza from the Wood-fired Oven at the Calgary Italian Supermarket | dinner with Julie on 03 Oct 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    [...] One Year Ago: French Onion Soup [...]

  20. Soups to save you from the chill of winter | Start From Scratch Soups to save you from the chill of winter | Start From Scratch on 20 Feb 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    [...] French Onion Soup (by Julia Child via dinnerwithjulie.com) — A classic soup that is easy to make but big on flavour and comfort. [...]

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  22. Kathy on 12 Oct 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    I made French Onion Soup following this recipe tonight tonight, and it turned out wonderfully! The instructions were easy to follow, and everyone loved the soup!!

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