Just like I started culinary school a year ago this January, I decided to start my new project with French Onion Soup. And with it being freezing outside, a warm soup was what I wanted. I have now written about this beloved soup twice – click here to see my first blog entry I wrote in school.
It’s a great way to begin the culinary school journey – knife skills, time & temperature, caramelizing, deglazing with wine…and you hopefully end up with an enjoyable bowl of soup.
Sunday night, I got out my recipe book and decided to replay my first lesson(s) of school.
I have to say my knife skills have improved greatly! (I’m not going to mention the fact that I am currently wearing two band-aids from accidents I had last week at the restaurant – sometimes your thumb gets mistaken for a carrot – ouch!)
For the soup you need a lot of onions – for two bowls I used 4 medium onions – thinly sliced. Then with a little of butter I started to caramelize them.
Time & Temperature What I thought was going to be a quick soup ended up taking slightly longer than I hoped but I didn’t want to rush the caramelizing of the onion since that is where MOST of the flavor comes from – the more caramelization the yummier it is.
I eventually cranked the heat up a little more to move things along – when I’m hungry I’m impatient.
So impatient that I forgot to deglaze with wine! I did it with chicken stock instead. But don’t worry, once I realized my rookie mistake, I added in some wine and I let it cook down. That was a close call!
Lastly, I added more chicken stock and threw in my bouguet garni sachet (peppercorns, thyme, and a bay leaf tied up in cheesecloth) and let it simmer.
At the end I topped it off with toasted croutons, grated gruyere cheese and placed them under the broiler until melted and brown.
It’s so simple and yet very delicious if I may say so myself. This time around, it only took 40 minutes or so. The first two days in class it took me probably 2-3 hours….
Next time it will be potato & leek soup with chocolate eclairs as we celebrate my mom’s birthday!