I recently went to Santa Barbara and had lunch with my mother and daughter at a lovely little French restaurant on State Street.
I ordered the French Onion Soup, which I haven’t had or made in a long time, and it made me think how deplorable that was. I adore French Onion Soup and everything about it: the beefy broth, the glorious caramelized onions, and of course, the incredibly tasty, melty Swiss cheese on the crispy, crusty, soup-soaked bread! What’s not to love?
So as I often do, when I came home, it went on the “to-make” list. And I made it. And it was awesome.
As the title suggests, I didn’t follow Julia Child’s recipe to the letter. Although Julia claims if you don’t use homemade beef stock, you may as well buy onion soup, I say you’re still better off making the onion soup and using whatever stock you have on hand, as long as it’s good quality. I also don’t like fighting with full-sized pieces of French bread covered in cheese, floating in my soup, so I suggest bite-sized toasted pieces of bread instead…they are much more manageable.
This is not a five minute soup, so just be prepared to caramelize some onions for a good 45 minutes or so. The rest of the soup making process is easy, and the results are truly worth the time and effort.
1 1/2 lbs or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions (do not use sweet)
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp sugar
3 tbsp flour
2 quarts (64 oz) beef stock (or water with beef bouillon)
1/2 cup (4 oz) dry white wine or dry vermouth
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp cognac or brandy (optional, Julia’s recipe has 3 tbsp, but I prefer less)
French, Italian or rustic loaf bread, cut into bite sized croutons, toasted
1 to 2 cups of grated, real Swiss Cheese (Julia used Swiss or Parmesan) I used Gruyere