Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Julia Child's French Onion Soup

The first time I ever made this, I didn't have any beef stock on hand so I roasted our leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass and made stock from it. It was so rich, with such deep flavor, it was unbelievable, and since then I've always used homemade roasted stock. This time, I used our leftover Easter leg of lamb carcass. (You don't taste lamb, just lots of rich meaty flavor.) You can make this with any roasted stock, even vegetable. My version has more onions (Julia's recipe calls for 5 c onions to 2 qt stock) but since we aren't topping it with cheese and bread I wanted it to be more substantial. Serves 3-4 and freezes beautifully.

5 large sweet onions like Vidalia or Walla Walla, thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 tsp kosher salt
1 TB tapioca flour
1 qt roasted stock
1/3 c dry white wine, not aged in oak barrels
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1-2 TB cognac (I use Decourtet)

Heat the EVOO in a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions, toss with tongs to coat with oil, cover and cook about 15 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium and add the salt. Since you're using sweet onions with lots of natural sugars, you don't need to add any sugar to help the browning process. Cook about 40-50 minutes, stirring often, until the onions have caramelized to a deep, golden brown.

Sprinkle the tapioca flour over the onions. Stir and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and add the stock and wine, and season with salt & pepper to taste. It will feel like something's missing; that's going to be the cognac, which comes later. Put it back on the heat and simmer, partially covered, 30-40 min longer.

Before serving, remove from heat and add the cognac. Stir it in, then taste for salt & pepper. Serve immediately.

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