J’adore Julia Child!
I’ve been a fan of Julia Child for a VERY long time. I developed a passion for cooking after watching her public tv show, The French Chef, as a teenager. This was back in the days when watching cooking shows was something only really bored people did on a Saturday morning (read: me). Yea, I wasn’t a super popular teen, but I managed to make it pay off.
Julia’s show, The French Chef, was the first of its kind. It came before the Food Network. It was before celebrity chefs like Rachel Ray and even Martha Stewart. And it was definitely before the pompous chefs criticizing or even screaming at home cooks as they tried to make complex dishes.
Julia Child was never critical. She was absolutely never pompous either. Julia Child wanted us all to have “Courage!” and try to cook, even if we failed.
Through the magic of the internet, I was able to re-watch some of her first episodes of The French Chef and even some of her television appearances. She made me laugh out loud. She encouraged me. And she showed me how to fail…and how to recover from a failure. And that is what made her different than ALL the rest.
Today’s “celebrity” chefs have much to learn from Julia Child. Not just technique, but also about humility and humor, encouraging and truly teaching people how to do things for themselves.
And, well, that’s all I have to say about that…now on to the second recipe Julia ever presented on The French Chef: French Onion Soup Gratinee!
- 4 large or 6 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 1/2 cups white wine
- 32 ounces (1 quart) fresh or canned chicken broth, homemade is best
- 32 ounces (1 quart) fresh or canned beef broth, homemade is best
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Fresh thyme with stems removed, about 2-3 tablespoons
- 5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- French bread, sliced thickly
- Olive oil for brushing on the bread
- Shredded Gruyere cheese
- Melt butter in Dutch Oven on stove top; allow the foam to subside before adding sliced onions to it. Add the onions and stir to incorporate the butter. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the onions are soft and have reduced in size by about half.
- Move the Dutch Oven to a 400 degree preheated oven. Keep the cover on, but rest it so that it is slightly ajar. Roast the onions for a total of one hour, checking and stirring them once or twice. The onions will develop a nice brown color, which is fine.
- Remove the Dutch Oven from the stove to the stove top and add the wine. Proceed to stir and scrape so that you are deglazing the pot. Cook for about five minutes or until the wine reduces by about half.
- When the wine is reduced, add the chicken and beef stock, the garlic, the fresh thyme and the splashes of Worcestershire. Simmer and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes.
- While the soup is finishing up, brush the French bread slices with good olive oil and toast either in your toaster oven or regular oven, five minutes per side. The croutons should be really well toasted, but not burned.
- When the soup is finished, ladle the soup into soup crocks or bowls (not rimmed soup bowls, but stouter crocks that can withstand heat). Float one or two toasted croutons on top. Gently sprinkle the floating croutons with a generous portion of shredded Gruyere OR Swiss (Julia used Swiss, but I prefer Gruyere).
- Using a baking sheet, transfer the very hot bowls to under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Watch for over-browning or burning.