Sunday, July 19, 2009
Cooking JC's French Onion Soup
I belong to a book club and this month was Julie & Julia to coincide with the movie coming out. I grew up watching Julia Child's cooking show on PBS. I always loved her shows, especially with that cutie-pie Jacques Pepin. She always made it seem like a super-complicated recipe was actually possible for a home cook.
I'd never made one of her recipes before, but I was inspired by the book. I'm a decent cook so I was determined to tackle one of her recipes. Since I'm finishing up the last of the strict phase of South Beach, I also selfishly wanted to have something that I knew I could eat. After some thought, I decided to make french onion soup. I could eat it without the bread and cheese topping and be satisfied. Awesome!
I had to stay late at work on Wednesday so I didn't get home until about 9:30. I sliced up 6 pounds of onions--think about it, it's 2 big bags from the store. Then, I set to carmelize them with a stick of butter and some olive oil. I stirred, stirred, and stirred but after an hour and a half I gave up. The onions were sweet and had broken down into small chunks but never got that beautiful brown color. My back ached the whole next day from stirring so much.
Then, I added the beef broth and simmered for a short while. Somewhat lacking carmelization, the soup wasn't as rich and beefy tasting as I wanted. Luckily, I dug in my refrigerator and found some beef demi glace. Between some lovely beaujalais and the demi glace, the broth was much improved.
While the soup was simmering, I shredded swiss cheese and prepared the bread rounds. Basically, you slice up french bread and toast with a little olive oil until all the moisture is removed.
At book club the next day, I reheated the soup, placed the toast round and shredded cheese on top and set in the oven to get all melty and yummy. It was a big hit.
Thanks to the book club for inspiring me to FINALLY have the courage to attempt one of JC's recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I was so bouyed by my success, my husband bought me the 2 volume set. I've been reviewing the volumes and have selected a few more recipes to try. Maybe you'll have to come over one night for some beef burgundy, orange bavarian cream, lobster gratin...the list goes on.
Souhaitez-moi la chance! (Wish me luck!)