Dear Soup Development Team,
I’ve always had somewhat of an inferiority complex towards the French. Maybe it’s because the girls behind the counter would always laugh at me when I would try to order crepes en Francais on our grade Eight trip to Quebec. Or maybe because I knew the girl of my dreams for years, Audrey Tautou, by way of the 2001 film Amelie, would never go for a guy who couldn’t even order crepes in her mother tongue. Or perhaps it was because of the fact that after seven years of compulsory French class, I couldn’t articulate my thoughts much further than “I am tired,” or “I would like four cheeseburgers.”
It took me a while to overcome this lack of confidence, of which I still have yet to fully recover. However, one thing is for sure; if you want to learn how to really cook, you need to embrace French culture in at least some capacity. They basically invented haute cuisine. In North America, for the last half of the 20th century, gourmet cooking was synonymous with French cooking, and everything else was just “ethnic.”
Below is a simple recipe for French Onion. I like it a lot, and it’s easy, unlike many other French dishes.
French Onion feat. 2 Live Croutons
The key to French Onion is in the carmalization of yellow onions. Some people will get hard core and have them sit on low heat for hours over the stove, but you really don’t need more than 40 minutes, 15 on medium-low and the rest on low. Also, to stay true to the recipe use Gruyere cheese and not the mild cheddar you probably have sitting in the crisper. It’s worth the trip. French bread can be substituted with croutons, or even just regular toast.
The below makes about a quart, serves four as an app or two as a main, if you actually think soup could ever be a main dish. If you do, I will be ordering four cheeseburgers on my way home.
Add the following to a saucepan on medium-low heat:
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced, no more than ¼ inch thick
Turn the heat up to medium. Stir occasionally, so as to not let the onions burn. When they start to brown turn down to medium-low, or about 15 minutes in. After another 25 mins with the heat on low, add:
1 tbsp Cognac
Turn up the heat to high until the cognac has evaporated. Then add:
2 cups of beef stock (or vegetable stock if you are one of those people)
Bring to a boil, then simmer, for about 20 minutes. Then add:
Salt and pepper to taste
Put one (or two, or however many you need) bowls onto a baking sheet. Add on top of the soup:
2 Live Croutons (or two slices of toasted French bread)
3 tbsp of Gruyere cheese
Broil (means the heat is coming from the top of the oven) until the cheese is melted, not too long.
If you haven’t made plans for New Years yet, I’ll be on the 1’s and 2’s this year at Brazen Head in Liberty Village. Tickets are $50 for dinner + party $25 for the party. Come say hello, or buy me a jaggerbomb and request your favourite track, it should be good times. Facebook page is below:
Track of the Week:
As a new feature, going forward I’ll be pairing the soups with a song. I’ll do this for a few months at least and then maybe make a dj mix out of them. This week I thought I would pair French Onion feat. 2 Live Croutons with a track from the French-inspired Hotel Costes series called Getting Closer by Hird. Extra credit goes to people who make the soup and download the song to their Ipods. If you are reading this from the blog and not in the email and would like to be added to the newsletter so as to get the music, drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll add you.
“made from scratch”