Where Did My Summer Go? French Onion Soup

An old high school friend and I were talking about a French teacher we had and I had mentioned that I still used the French onion soup recipe she taught us in french cooking class. I actually make reference to this teacher and the recipe in my book, Evanthia’s Gift. The original post was from last October when I was already complaining about the impending cold weather. Well, here we are again, so I thought I would repost it along with an excerpt.

“Mmm, French onion soup,” he grinned. “Just what the doctor ordered.” He sat down and breathed in the aroma. “I remember the first time you made this for me.” He looked at her, thinking of those high school days. Her hair wasn’t waist length anymore, but it was still long and time had been good to her. She looked nowhere near her forty-one years.
“Thanks to Madame Le Claire’s French cooking class. I still use her original recipe.”
“I think I remember her — tiny blonde lady?”
Sophia nodded. “That’s her.”
“I took Italian. Vinny and me… Mr. Morel. Cute little guy. We fooled around so much I don’t think we came out learning more than a couple of sentences. Do you still remember any French? Mmm… this is even better than I remember,” he said, cutting into a crouton, while struggling with the stringy cheese.
“Of course! I teach ballet. The positions are all French terms. Plus, the month I spent in Paris helped my fluency.”
Silence ensued as they both realized which summer she spent in Paris, and for the first time that afternoon, awkwardness hung between them.

cheffie's kitchen

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For me, this time of year is the most difficult to negotiate. I hang on to summer until the first day of autumn is officially declared, and even then, I extend summer with my annual trip to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in Orlando. Until then, I continue to wear my summer wardrobe and our pool remains open. After all, late September temperatures often reach the 80’s, and even early October can provide warm days. However, unlike the summer, it’s cold in the morning, but warms up by the afternoon, which creates the problem of what to wear. So what does this have to do with food? Nothing really, except that I find the same dilemma this time of year with what to cook. One day I am outside happily grilling on my patio. The sun is shining and although it’s October, I am contemplating eating outside. The next…

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Where Did My Summer Go? French Onion Soup

IMG_2143

For me, this time of year is the most difficult to negotiate. I hang on to summer until the first day of autumn is officially declared, and even then, I extend summer with my annual trip to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in Orlando. Until then, I continue to wear my summer wardrobe and our pool remains open. After all, late September temperatures often reach the 80’s, and even early October can provide warm days. However, unlike the summer, it’s cold in the morning, but warms up by the afternoon, which creates the problem of what to wear. So what does this have to do with food? Nothing really, except that I find the same dilemma this time of year with what to cook. One day I am outside happily grilling on my patio. The sun is shining and although it’s October, I am contemplating eating outside. The next day, it’s cold, almost bone chilling. I tell myself, “You will not make comfort food. It is too soon.” I know once I do this, I will have to pull out the fall clothing, decorate the front of the house with all the harvest paraphernalia, and there will be no turning back. But it’s cold and raining—so I make French onion soup…and a pot of sauce with meatballs and braciole. But then the sun came out on the weekend! And I grilled again! If only the pool company didn’t close the pool.

I hope All of October stays warm, but in case it doesn’t, here is a recipe for French onion soup. I think you will find this one lighter than most you’ve had in many restaurants. I don’t care for very dark broths that are heavy and tend to be too salty. I also don’t like when the soup is like an onion stew. That being said, I’ve created this recipe with the balance of ingredients to my taste. I hope you like it.

French Onion Soup

4 large onions (Vidalia or Spanish) sliced thin

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon sugar

1tablespoon flour

7 cups beef broth

1 ½ cups white wine

¼ cup cognac or brandy

Swiss, gruyere, jalsberg, or emmentaler cheese (In slices or shredded)

Add vegetable oil and butter to a large pot. On a medium stovetop, add the onions and sugar, stir and cover. Let the onions caramelize on medium/low heat for half hour to forty minutes, stirring occasionally. When caramelized, add flour and stir thoroughly. Add the broth and the wine. Simmer for half hour to forty minutes. While simmering, make baguette toasts. Slice a French baguette ½ inch thick on an angle and toast. You may rub a garlic clove on the toast if you wish, but this is optional. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When the soup is done simmering, remove from the heat and add the cognac or brandy. Ladle the soup into a crock. Add the baguette toasts and lay the cheese over the toasts. Place in oven until cheese bubbles and begins to brown.