Soupe À l’Oignon (French Onion Soup)

For these Julia Child recipes, I thought it would be fun to tell you stories from the time I went to France with my brother, mother, and a bunch of religious Korean ladies. My mom decided to go on a religious pilgrimage to Lourdes, Frances and Rome, Italy with a bunch of religious Korean ladies and my brother and I came along.

To give a little introduction, we traveled to France in the late 1980s. My brother and I don’t speak Korean and the religious Korean ladies may have spoken English but they preferred to speak Korean and really didn’t speak to us if they could help it. My mother was the go-between if we needed to communicate with them. I was 16 years old and my brother was 14.

Before my mom dragged us to Lourdes, we stayed in Paris for about 36 hours. During that time we tried to visit every touristy spot, including the Louvre. After viewing the Mona Lisa, the religious Korean ladies, including my mom, wandered off, leaving my brother and I close to the entrance.

If that wasn’t uncomfortable enough, my mom made us wear our Sunday school clothes because another Korean lady told her we would be treated poorly if we wore our regular clothes. So here we were, my brother and I, standing close to the entrance, in our uncomfortable Sunday school clothes. We stood in a hallway, next to a sign pointing to the direction of the Mona Lisa.

All of a sudden, a crazed woman grabbed my two arms, shook me, and said, “Do you know where the Mona Lisa is?”

Shocked, I paused before I started to answer, but it was too late.

“Oh forget it!” she said, letting go of me in disgust. “You French people are all the same.” Then she left.

Here is the recipe for Soupe À l’Oignon, or French Onion Soup, posted originally in Penelope’s Story Part 5. It’s brought to you by Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Honestly, this soup takes a few hours to make and it is very rich but very delicious and relatively inexpensive to make, even buying organic.

Also before you start, I have to warn you that this isn’t a one pot soup. You need a regular soup pot like a dutch oven and another large sauce pan. I use a 2 3/4 quart sauce pan, which just barely works.

Cooking Pan Lids

Total Time: about 2 – 2 1/2 hours

1) About 5 cups of onions (The book calls for yellow but I use white because they don’t make me cry as much.)
2) 3 tablespoons of butter
3) 1 tablespoon of oil
4) 1 teaspoon of salt
5) 1/4 teaspoon sugar
6) 3 tablespoons of flour
7) 2 quarts of beef stock
8) 1/2 cup white wine
9) Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation and Cooking
1) Cut the onions into half moons or dice them.
2) Coat the soup pot (i.e. the dutch oven) with the oil.
3) Then turn the burner on low and let the butter melt so it coats the bottom as well.
4) Add the diced onions, put the lid on and let cook for about 15 minutes.
5) Uncover the pot, turn the burner to medium.
6) Add the salt and sugar.
7) For about 30-40 minutes you will need to frequently stir the onions, until the onions have turned a deep golden brown. Light brown is okay if you’re using white onions.
8) At the half an hour phase of cooking the onions, take the other sauce pan, pour the beef stock in it and turn the temperature on high. Let it get to a boil (this takes about 10 minutes for me).
9) At the 40 minute mark, the onions should be ready and the beef stock boiling.
10) Sprinkle the flour onto the onions and stir for about 3 minutes.
11) Turn off the burner for the boiling beef stock and add it to the onions.
12) Add the wine.
13) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
14) Let it simmer for another 30-40 minutes.
15) Garnish with shredded cheese. In the picture below, I used parmesan. I’ve also used Gruyere which was expensive but very tasty as well.


French Onion Soup

Love, Ana

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French Onion Soup
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