Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Stockpot Full of Love

DucCat and I just returned from the movie store with David La Chapelle’s Rize in our hot little hands. I was itching to check it out, but first, needed to peruse the cupboards in search of dinner inspiration.

A quick check revealed a brimming cheese drawer, aging onions, bread rapidly turning stale, and an assortment of LeGourmet stocks. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were aching to jump into the stockpot to become:

The above picture is a page from DucCat’s mother’s cookbook, a revered tome of family trivia and well-loved recipes. This special book long ago transcended the 'regular' cookbook shelf in favour of the kitchen chopping block, close at hand for any given cook-ly whim.

DucCat began sautéing the onions, while I grated mountains of cheese, and sliced the bread nice and thick for toasting.

As DucCat put the final touches into the burbling, oniony pot, I had to take a quick peek out at Rize.


Oh, my.


I scurried back into the kitchen to help with clean-up, and prepare our little crocks for that final blast of heat.

Soon, all of our once-fading leftovers emerged transformed into some seriously soul-satisfying food.

Oh, and that movie Rize? It may have begun with the dancing, but, as always, it ended in the kitchen.

Julia Child’s French Onion Soup
adapted for the James River Kitchen cookbook

· 3 Tablespoons butter
· 1 Tablespoon olive oil
· 2.5 pounds thinly sliced yellow onions
· pinch of sugar
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 3 Tablespoons flour
· 8 (2 quarts) cups light beef stock, at a boil
· 1 cup dry red wine
· 1 bay leaf
· 1/2 teaspoon sage
· Salt and pepper to taste
· thickly cut slices of hard-toasted French bread
· 1 ½ cups grated Swiss & Parmesan cheeses, mixed (disclaimer: not afraid to go heavy-handed here)

Melt butter and oil in a heavy 4 quart pan or casserole. Add onions and stir; cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When onions are tender and translucent, uncover, riase heat to medium high and stir in salt and sugar.

Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently until onions turn golden brown. Lower heat to medium, stir in flour; cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add 1 cup into onion mixture with a whisk. Add remaining stock, wine, bay leaf, sage and simmer slowly for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

If not serving immediately, cool uncovered and refrigerate.

At serving time, toast slices of bread in a 325-degree oven until nicely crisped and hard. Ladle soup in individual crocks or use a casserole. Sprinkle cheese ontop and bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes, or until soup is bubbly and cheese is melted.

Note: you'll probably want to broil it for the last couple of minutes to obtain a nicely browned cheesy crust.


Blogger Mona said...

Wow, I've been reading about French Onion soup a lot lately-it's my favorite soup I'd say besides pumpkin and can't wait to try this version. Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 24, 2005 2:51 PM  
Blogger Melissa CookingDiva said...

Oh---the onion soup looks so good!!! Happy Holidays from Panama :)

November 26, 2005 8:35 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Mona, you definately need to try it out. Such good, good stuff. Plus, you can make a big batch, and freeze the leftovers for future winter feasting!

Melissa, thanks for stopping by!

November 28, 2005 7:59 AM  

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