Two of my dear friends Aubrey and Suzanne recently took their honeymoon in London and Paris. I know they had a lovely time in the City of Lights. I recall the life changing trip to Paris I took many years ago. I can recall the sights, smells and tastes of that fantastic city at any moment. One of my favorite things to do was to sit and eat in cafes and bistros, these are the places where life happens in Paris. Salads, Croque Madame’s , Monsoirs, soups, steaks, roast chicken all take on a Parisian flair when served on gleaming white plates by hurried waiters.
One of my favorite dishes back then and still today is French Onion Soup or Soupe a l’Oignon au Fromage. It is an easy dish to make and the rewards are spectactular. This soup, when made properly serves as a fantastic lunch course with a salad or a hearty first course at dinner. This recipe serves 6 people. This morning was chilly and frosty so I decided to let the yard warm up a bit before I attempted any yard work so I put the time to good use in the kitchen. I pulled some onions that came from the garden out of the pantry and made a big batch of soup!
6 large onions (about 5 pounds), sliced thin
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 quarts beef broth
twelve 1/2-inch-thick slices of French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyère
In a large kettle cook the onions in the butter over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and cook the mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the broth slowly, stir the soup constantly until it comes to a boil, and simmer it, covered, for 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Put 2 slices of the toast in each of 6 heated soup bowls, top each toast with 1 tablespoon of the Gruyère, and pour the soup over the toasts. (To serve the onion soup gratiné, arrange the 12 toasts on the bottom of a flameproof casserole, heap each of them with 1 tablespoon of the Gruyère and boil it under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.)
This soup freezes beautifully so don’t worry if you don’t have six hungry mouths to feed with it, make up a batch, have some for lunch and freeze the rest!