Tonight, I made French onion soup, gratineed with a whole wheat sourdough crouton and Swedish Fontina cheese. Vegetables arrived in the form of a simple side salad with Ume Plum vinaigrette. I modded the French onion soup recipe according to my own tastes, and the result was awesome if you ask me.
Here's the recipe (based on Julia Child's recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking):
French Onion Soup, a la Dude2 (makes about 6 servings):
- 4 largish white onions, sliced very thin
- 2 Tbsp butter (Pastureland)
- ~1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 2 quarts beef stock
- 1/2 cup + a splash of dry white wine
- a very generous splash of cognac (about 3 Tbsp)
To the left you can see the before and after pictures of the onions in the pot -- they get very dark brown. This is very important for the flavor of the soup, so don't cut corners here!
Now add the flour, mixing it well with the onions. When it is well integrated, pour in the beef stock and the white wine, bring to a simmer, and allow it to simmer gently for a couple of hours. Just before you serve it, add the cognac. I put a sourdough crouton and some good swiss cheese on top, then brown it under the broiler for a better presentation.
The salad was just some lettuce, shredded carrot, celery, red bell peppers, d'Anjou pears and Ume Plum vinaigrette that I threw together as an experiment. I was not impressed with the dressing -- I didn't realize that Ume Plum vinegar is extremely salty, so my dressing mostly tasted like salt. If it had been sweet like I was expecting, it would have been good. This dressing may have its place, but that place is not on a salad like this!
Ume Plum Vinaigrette (salty!):
- ~1/4 cup Ume Plum vinegar
- ~1/3 cup sunflower or other mild oil
- ~1 tsp powdered mustard
- ~1/2 tsp poppy seeds
Mix it all together and use whenever you're ready. I recommend substituting a sweet vinegar if you decide to try this -- with a sweet vinegar, the above recipe is quite good.