I woke up this morning to find that my room was freezing, my nose was running, and the air outside was crisp and chilly. You know what that means? French Onion Soup!
One thing I really enjoy about France is that people go grocery shopping every day, or every couple of days. None of this stocking up for the week or two weeks ahead–food is bought to be eaten, not to be stored away. So today after yoga I headed to one of my local bakeries for my demi-baguette (to go with tomato soup in a box for lunch–surprisingly delicious, a possible rival for the tomato basil bisque at Cosi), then I followed my favorite bus route to where I knew there was a little green grocer’s. The proprietor was really delightful, and he picked out three nice onions for me.
Sure, they look small, but with a little effort and a few tears, they became a great big pile of stinky goodness!
Then I stopped at a grocery store on the way home for butter and beef stock. They didn’t have beef stock, not as such, so I bought beef bouillon cubes and hoped for the best (did I mention this is a slightly semi-homemade recipe? Sandra Lee would be proud!).
Oh, and the big orange thing in the background of these photographs is one of my favorite purchases. I bought it from a girl who was moving out the day after I arrived. She suggested I use it as a laundry hamper, but it’s not big enough (as it turns out, I appropriated her hamper when she went back to China and left a note on her door that said, “Servez-vous!” Help yourself! I also took the pot in which I made the soup.), so I use it for general carrying things. Walking out the door to go grocery shopping with my big orange basket feels like such an essentially French thing to do, especially if on the way back I’ve got leafy greens and a baguette sticking out the top of it.
Anyway. Then I put olive oil and butter in the pot (gotta have both, bien sur!). When they had heated up, I added one layer of onions, then salt, then another layer of onions, then salt, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. This part of the recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown.
When they had sweated down (it took about fifteen minutes, during which time I chatted with my friend André and read a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery), I covered them with water and added four bouillon cubes. The end product? Unbelievably salty and delicious onion soup!
I’m already looking forward to lunch tomorrow!
(Also, in an effort to get rid of the honey that I bought for Rosh Hashanah last week, I made tea with milk and honey last night. It was glorious–and kept me up half the night! Oops. Guess I’ll be having tea at the established tea-time today.)