Using something from the garden, anyone’s garden

OK, so there’s not a lot of gardening to be done today. It is pouring rain here and snowing like crazy in McCall. We were headed up there for New Year’s but the road report was kind of nasty so we decided to stay put for a few days. Having the afternoon with nothing scheduled, I decided it was a good day for making soup. Happened to have a bag of Fort Boise Spanish Onions on hand, so viola! I made my favorite French Onion Soup. The recipe is from a wonderful cookbook, Julia Child The Way to Cook. It was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1989. Here it is:

Timing: For the most delicious results, you want a slow simmer of 2 ½ to 3 hours.

For about 2 ½ quarts, serving 6

3 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. light olive oil
8 cups thinly sliced onions (2 ½ pounds)
½ tsp eachsalt and sugar (sugar helps the onons to brown)
2 Tbs flour
2 ½ quarts homemade beef stock. At least 2 cups of which should be hot
4 to 5 Tbs Cognac, Armagnac, or other good brandy
1 cup dry white French vermouth

Use a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan with cover for onion cooking and simmering.

Browning the onions – 40 minutes. Set the saucepan over moderate heat with the butter and oil; when the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover the pan, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Blend in the salt and sugar, raise heat to moderately high, and let the onions brown, stirring frequently until they are a dark walnut color, 25 to 30 minutes.

Simmering the soup. Sprinkle in the flour and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a moment. Then whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. When well blended, bring to a simmer, adding the rest of the stock, the Cognac or brandy, and the vermouth. Cover loosely, and simmer very slowly 1 ½ hours, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Correct seasoning.

Serving. Serve the soup as it is, accompanying it with French bread and a bowl of grated swiss or parmesan cheese, or gratine’. A gratine’ is made by floating a toasted piece of homemade/rustic bread on the soup with some grated cheese on top. Put it under the broiler to get it all hot and bubbly before serving.