Julia Child’s French Onion Soup Recipe is Fit for a King
Recipe Featured on: Big Oven
French Onion Soup is one of those dishes we find consistently inconsistent when we eat out. I don’t know if chefs are trying too hard to be different or what it is but sometimes simple is best, and it doesn’t get any simpler than Julia Child’s recipe. Having lost my job we do not eat out much anymore and we were missing the bubbly, cheesy, fragrant fun that is French Onion Soup. So, I put it on the menu for Father’s Day because this recipe is 100% fit for a king!
I admit, I was a little nervous having never tried the recipe before, I mean, c’mon, it is Julia Child. I’m not sure where I got the notion that her recipes would be tough to tackle but I could not have been more wrong. This recipe was not intensive, instead it was ridiculously easy to make. I hope my pictures do it justice and wish Word-Press had a Smell-o-vision plug-in! The house smelled A-mazing! It’s going to be rainy night, I am pretty sure after writing this I will be making this hearty soup once again when done!
Begin by melting the oil and butter in a large stock pot.
At medium heat add your sliced onion stirring gently to coat with the fat, cover and let the onions sweat for 10 minutes.
Blend in the salt and sugar, raise the heat to medium high and begin browning them turning them often for approx. 20 minutes. I recommend pulling up a bar stool and grabbing a glass of the white wine while you gently stir your onions.
Gently stir in the flour and brown for an additional five minutes to cook the flour. Take them off the heat and stir 2-3 cups of the beef stock.
Once blended return to medium heat, stir in the remaining stock, cognac/brandy and wine.
Bring to a gentle simmer, cover loosely with a lid and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours checking to see if you need to add more liquid and to be sure it is not boiling and just simmering. (Note: the onions break down even more flavoring the broth)
Divide the soup into four crocks or ramekins and float a slice of thick French Bread on top of the broth, add additional 1/2 slices or torn pieces of bread to fill the space at the top of the bowl. Sprinkle your Gruyère cheese on top of the bread. (I used Provolone, easier to lay on top of the bread and bowl and it is nice and stringy when browned!)
- ½ stick butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2-1/2 pounds - I used Vidalia Onion)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 8 cups homemade beef stock, or good quality store bought stock (I used store bought)
- ¼ cup Cognac, or other good brandy (I had CClub on hand)
- 1 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
- 4-8 (3/4-inch) thick slices of French bread
- ¾ grated Gruyere (I used 8 slices of good Provolone)
- Heat a heavy saucepan over medium heat with the butter and oil.
- When the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Blend in the salt and sugar, increase the heat to medium high, and let the onions brown, stirring often until they are a dark walnut color approximately 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cool a moment, and gently stir in 2 cups of hot stock.
- Return to medium heat and add the remaining stock, Cognac, and wine, stirring to combine until it reaches a gentle boil, now reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cover loosely with a lid and simmer slowly 1½ hours, add a little water if the liquid reduces too much. (Mine didn't)
- Taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper as needed to your taste.
- Divide the soup among 4 ovenproof bowls.
- Float a thick slice of French Bread on top of the soup, Break other pieces of bread in half if you need to to fill the open portion at the top of the bowl with bread.
- Sprinkle generously with grated Gruyere cheese.
- Place bowls on a cookie sheet and slide them under a preheated broiler in the center of the oven watching constantly as the cheese melts to form a crust over the tops of the bowls.
- Serve immediately.
- Recipe adapted from Julia Child, "The Way to Cook
OK – I can’t take it – I have to make this again, and now! You may have seen the piece I did on our new South Tampa Fresh Market, not sure if I mentioned they back right up to Publix. May just be me, but I think a price war has begun, I bought the Vidalia onions I used in this recipe for .69 a pound!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Bill said he felt like a king this past Father’s Day as we served his favorite ‘special night out’ foods at home. His mom came over and we had a great time. Nothing better than good food, family and a celebration!
With a smile, Carlyn 🙂
P.S. On a side note, just in case I can get lucky. When I met Bill in 1983 Julia Child was still airing on PBS. She made a roasted chicken dinner that had sides of pearl onions, stuffing, mushrooms and I think a veg, maybe green beans. It was the first thing I cooked for Bill, he loved it, I made it several times from memory, then stopped and darn it, I forgot the recipe. If you know what I am talking about and have this recipe I have been looking for years and would love to surprise him!