If memory serves me correctly, I started cooking somewhere between 18 and 20 years old – definitely much later than the ‘Top Chef Kids’ we see today! I was going to college and university and still living at home with my parents and younger siblings. (Going away to school was not a popular thing to do at that time where I lived since it was a major city with a number of high-quality universities close by. In fact, from what I know, it is still very similar today).
As a tween and teen, I was interested in what my Mom was doing in the kitchen and always wanted to help. My Mom was not keen to have us help in the kitchen. She used to say “go play”. When we asked her why she always said we’ll have plenty of years to cook when we are grown. My Mom is a great cook and always made wonderful meals and desserts. We had lots of variety and ate nutritious, delicious, homecooked meals just about every day. At the same time, I later understood that a part of her found cooking tedious and wanted to get it done as efficiently as possible. Teaching your young children to cook alongside you is definitely not efficient, as many of you know! Fortunately, when I did start to cook, my Mom was available and eager to answer questions on how she did things. I’m lucky to still have her as a resource today – and as years went on, she now sometimes calls me to ask me cooking questions or advice. I take that as a real compliment!
When I started to assert myself in Mom’s kitchen and make parts of meals or whole meals, I always made things my Mom didn’t make. It wasn’t because I was dissatisfied with her cooking, rather, I knew I couldn’t make her meals as well as she did, so I tried out recipes that were new for our family or things we had eaten occasionally in restaurants or at family and friend’s house. Eventually, my Mom and the rest of the family grew to like the dishes I made and they became part of our rotation….(truthfully, my brother didn’t like anything I made!!! But, he was quite a picky eater as a kid. As an adult, he learned to love many more foods and he is also a very good cook! I’ve learned a few good recipes from him too!)
One of the first dishes I made was soupe a l’ognion gratinee. I enjoyed it in restaurants when I occasionally went out with friends and thought I’d like to try it out at home. (And, now that I’m remembering, Mom did make this a few times in the ’70s…remember those brown onion oven safe onion soup bowls!!) My first attempt at creating this recipe worked out well and I’ve tweaked it as the years went by to become the version that is listed below. It’s a pretty easy recipe to make even though there are a few more steps than your average pot of homemade soup. But, it is worth the treat! The only issue for me is that it’s so filling that I always have difficulty deciding what to pair it with…when I started inviting friends for dinner in my early cooking years, I would usually pair it with my homemade Caesar salad. Of course, all these years later, I realize that more protein is needed, so adding some grilled chicken to that Caesar would be a good option. Go to my June 19, 2018 blog to read the story of an unforgettable homemade Caesar dressing. Click here for the recipe.
Whether you decide to try this onion soup recipe as a meal on its own, or as the starter to a bigger meal, I am sure you will impress your friends and family with this one and make it again and again. Let me know how it goes!
Happy cooking, friends!
Onion Soup au Gratin
- 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, or 4 to 6 medium cooking onions
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 litre best quality low salt beef stalk (or homemade beef stock)
- Splash of cognac (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dried or toasted French bread slices, about 1 inch thick
- Approximately 4 ounces of strong white cheddar or gruyere cheese, sliced
- 2 heaping tbsp quality parmesan cheese
- Thinly slice onions and set aside
- Melt butter in pot
- Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent and soft
- Add wine (and cognac if you are using it) and combine
- Next, add beef stock and seasonings
- Combine and simmer 20 to 30 minutes
- Preheat broiler
- Pour hot soup into oven/broiler safe bowls
- Cover top with dried or toasted French bread
- Cover toast with cheddar or gruyere, sprinkle parmesan on top
- Place bowls on baking sheet covered with foil and broil until cheese is melted and slightly browned
Tips: Serve with a napkin around onion soup bowl handle because bowl will be very hot!
posted by: everydayhomegourmet.blog/