Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée - French Onion Soup

I don't want to complain about being tired, especially since I spent the morning learning how to make, and of course getting to taste, millefeuilles au chocolat with milk chocolate and whipped cream fillings, along with chocolate spoons and chocolate champagne flutes that were equally sinful and delicious.  There are certainly many worse ways to spend a few hours on a Tuesday morning!

But being tired is a chronic problem for me now and one which I am trying to work on.  In fact, I think the reason I'm so tired is because of the internet and my indispensable yet despicable blackberry, which now occupies a permanent parking spot in my mind.  I find that I'm always worrying about emails I've received and people I have made plans with, so much so that I no longer enjoy the beautiful moment that I am living in!  I'm trying to cut down on my phone and internet usage, but the reality is that it's inescapable, and I fear that society as a whole has a concentration and commitment problem (at least I hope it's not just me, but given that you may be very well reading this while at work or while in the middle of doing entirely something else, I don't think my conclusion is too far from the truth).  We are lucky enough to be living in a day and age where information is easily accessible via the internet, but this gift can so easily become a curse.  What did I do today?  Sometimes I can't tell you, because my mind was in 500 places at once that I don't know if I really did much at all.

Part of the reason why I love to cook is because it is a time for me to put the phone down and the computer away, and focus on something hands-on and creative.  My hope with this blog is to inspire you to do the same, preferably with this soup! 

The origins of this French bistrot staple are disputed, but most françqis will attribute it to Louis XV, explaining that the king would come home in the middle of the night after hunting, only to find onions, champagne, and butter to cook with, thus inventing the base of this soup.  However, it has since then taken on a more elaborate and delicious manifestation, including toasted baguette slices topped with melted Emmental or Gruyere cheese.

I was really surprised by how easy it is to make; the hardest part is peeling and slicing the onions; otherwise it is all ingredients that go right from the pantry to the pan!  If you don't like crying while cutting onions, which is tout-a-fait normal, I learned a nice trick (aside, of course, from wearing swim goggles) - keep a piece of bread in your mouth while chopping, as the bread will absorb the sulfur emitted by the onions.  Not exactly the most attractive option, but it beats shedding a few tears against your will.

So please take the time to make this soup, or anything else for that matter, and give yourself a break from the fast-paced world we find ourselves in today.

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée - French Onion Soup - for 1

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 small or 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon flour
1/4-cup (6 cl) dry white wine
1 cup beef broth, or half of a bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup water
3 bread slices, preferably from a French baguette
3-4 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese, such as Emmental

Preheat the broiler.
1.  Melt the butter or oil in a saucepan or a small pot over medium heat.
2.  Add the onion and thyme with a small pinch of salt (don't forget the beef broth will add salt as well), and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until onions are softened and translucent, about 15 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile, toast your baguette slices until dried out and hard.
4..  Stir the flour into the onions, and cook 1 minute.
5. Add the white wine, and cook until reduced, about 2 minutes.
6. Add the stock, and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Taste to adjust seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper.
7.  Place the soup in an oven-proof bowl, top with baguette slices, and sprinlke with cheese.  Broil until cheese is melted and golden, about 2 minutes.
Boooooon appétit!


colleen said...

you are so talented. i love that you're back in action, so excited to see what's next!

Ashley Fahr said...

Thanks sweetie...let's talk soon! Hope all is well in nyc, lots of love from paree

Amu Ali said...

So true what you say about cell phones etc. can't do with them; can't do without them. Hard to find a balance.

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