Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whisk Wednesdays—Soupe à l'oignon gratinée (Onion soup)

Soupe à l'oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup) in onion bowlsI love the smell of onions cooking; it's one of my favorite smells. And French Onion Soup is one of my favorite foods. Although I made it earlier this year, this time I followed the recipe in Le Cordon Bleu at Home which calls for water as the base instead of stock. I found this intriguing since I thought the best onion soup was made with veal or beef stock. In the first taste test, we preferred the French Onion Soup made with beef stock, so I was curious to see if I liked this version.
"Only the pure of heart can make good soup." - Beethoven

"No More Tears" Onions
Getting the onions prepped without tears is hard for some. With my contacts protecting me, I was fine, but my daughter who was my sous chef was crying from the sulfuric compounds in the onion hitting the liquid in her eyes causing sulfuric acid. A tearless onion may be in our future!

After caramelizing the onions in butter for 20 minutes, I added a bit of flour to help thicken the soup a touch. Then, I added the wine, brought it to a boil and simmered for a bit. Finally, I added the water, the Bouquet Garni, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then, I left it alone to simmer for awhile.

The Onion Bowl
I had also been wondering if I could make the soup bowl out of an onion, and wouldn't you know it a fellow food blogger did it just this past weekend and blogged about it! I went to the store looking for the largest onions they had, and found big ones, but not huge ones. After scooping out the inside with a grapefruit spoon, I ladled a small amount of warm soup in each onion bowl. I topped each with some toasted bread and cheese. Next, I needed to find out if this onion bowl would hold up under a broiler! And it did!

I found these links helpful:
Alton Brown's show about onions and onion soup
• a bit of history about French Onion Soup
• a great article about how to make French Onion Soup
• a video showing how to make French Onion Soup

Ingredients for Soupe à l'oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup)You can find the recipe for Soupe à l'oignon gratinée (Onion soup) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with this week's recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Soupe à l'oignon gratinée (French Onion Soup) in onion bowlsTasting Notes
Using an onion as a bowl boosted the flavor of the soup. Although it was more work than using a traditional crock, it was novel, fun, and the perfect size for a small appetizer. It's worth the trouble to impress your guests!

This soup was very flavorful and my favorite of all the French Onion Soup variations I've tried so far. And no stock is required!

Next Week (August 20)
• Potage Ambassadeur (Split Pea Soup with Bacon, Sorrel, and Lettuce) page 462

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Running total: $633.48 + $5.91 = $639.39

Butter used so far: 6 pounds, 29 tablespoons


NKP said...

Your soup looks so cute in the little onion bowls. Your family must be enjoying Whisk Wednesdays with you around.

Anonymous said...

OMG - leave it to you to think of using actual onions as bowls!? It's brilliant. (How do you come up with this stuff??)

Jessica Eiden Smedley said...

Brilliant pictures, Shari! I can't wait to try this recipe; should be join back up next Wednesday.

Leslie said...

Love the onion bowls!
I keep myself from crying when I cut onions by wearing my sons pool goggles! Its a funny sight!

Anonymous said...

Bravo Shari!! And the onion bowls...what a touch! I bow to your culinary prowess!

I found it interesting that we both use stock for our "home-style" onion soups. Maybe not. I imagine your collection of cookbooks looks something like mine...immense.

You and Kayte are now responsible for getting me caught up with TWD too. I can't swing that much orchestrated cooking in a week and work, but I can read the recipes with you and drool over your results! That summer galette sold me!

Jenny said...

I love onion soup, and with the weather we've been having lately, it seems so appropriate!
Love the running total on the butter. :-)

Anonymous said...

I've been pining for onion soup lately and there have been some big, beautiful ones showing up at market too. Your plating is just wonderful!

Shelley said...

Oh, you are so clever! The soup in the onion bowls was a wonderful idea. How impressive would that be to guests?

Hope your sous chef's eyes have stopped weeping. :>)

This was a really good soup and I will definitely make it again - only I won't salt the soup up to our taste BEFORE adding the cheese. It was so easy for such a delicious result! (Only now, I feel like I have to know how it would taste with beef stock. My curiosity has been tweaked.)

Deborah said...

How interesting that the one that uses water instead of stock is your favorite! I love the onion bowls - such great presentation!

Anonymous said...

the onion bowls are an impressive idea. i can't wait for tearless onions, i had a good cry this weekend over a red one. :P

Anonymous said...

if you leave the tap open and cut the onions close to the sink, the running water (how, i haven't got a clue:)) prevents you from crying.