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One of my goals in life is to make proper onion soup no rubbish as it is my favorite. My soul swoons whenever I get hold of a good one. Alas these are few and far between.  Bland and disappointing types abound in restaurants. Every few years I try again to make my own but it always comes up deficit. For this month’s ‘soup of the month’ I vowed to try again. 

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A few years ago I got at Christmas the cookbooks of Julia Child. I’ve long been intimidated by French cooking what with its pretentious ‘members only’ reputation being a cuisine only great cooks (French ones really) can truly master/don’t try this at home.  I figured if anyone can help it is Mrs. Child. 

ingredients

To my relief the ingredients of her version are simple , few, and easy to obtain – like my men – consisting of onions, beef stock, wine, and not much else. 

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Onions are another area of culinary intimidation. I would pay top dollar for a kitchen applicance in which you pop in a whole unpeeled onion and out the other end comes perfectly peeled/chopped/diced onion bits.  I’ve watched Youtube videos on how to chop/slice/peel onions yet I still bungle every time I try.  For today’s endeavor I got this guillotine-like contraption which hasn’t seen daylight in years. It did a fair job slicing thin the 1.5 pounds called for and I didn’t cut off my fingers – good signs both.

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Mrs. Child says the trick is a slow low heat cooking then a high heat with added sugar and salt to caramelize. She says to be patient; this will take time. 

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A watched pot never boils but here is Urs Truly ordering the onions to speed up and the beef stock to boil. I had as much luck as King Cnut holding back the tide. Spo-fans can see in the photo the intrepid Spo-kettle which is continually called upon to boil water for tea.

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The recipe calls for wine – but only half a cup?  Patience above! What a waste to throw out the remainder of the bottle. I will try to think of something to do with the remnants.  

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It looks promising!  It appears to be what proper onion soup ought to be!

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The verdict: ‘meh”  

It has the right aroma, texture, and color. It doesn’t seem to have much onion. Next time I should double the amount of sliced onions.  There sure was a lot of shrinkage in the cooking process.

The big page 71 is the taste: the soup doesn’t have much flavor nor is it complex. True! The recipe has no spice other than salt and pepper to taste. I tried not to scrimp on ingredients but perhaps I should have used a better wine. I suspect there is an element of culture: my tastebuds are so used to the hot and spicy cuisines of the American Southwest anything less seems tasteless.  Does one but hot sauce or chiles in onion soup? I think not. 

All the same this one is the best I’ve made so far; I am making progress. I will keep trying.   

 

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