Sunday, March 04, 2007

Climb ev'ry mountain! aka Onion Soup

Well that’s the sound of music I imagined picturing Tanna as Mother Abbess. I could virtually hear her saying: Climb that mount’n girl! Especially when it’s made out of onions. Sigh. The things you do for blogging. How should I have known that when the one and only mr. Keller seduces you to peel: “8 pounds (about 8 large) yellow onions”

right way to cut-----only 1 quart, we'll need 7!-----and that is a lot!

he obviously refers to 8 giant sized onions. What I was thinking was something along the lines of: ok, peel 8 onions, let it be 10 or 12, I can do that. Easily. Sure enough, 8 American pounds translates as approx. 3.5 kgs. I can assure you, that is a lot of onions. Go figure, a medium Dutch onion weighs a hefty 3.5 oz whereas Tanna had some 16 oz colossus. Life isn’t fair!

And then this massive pot went on the lowest possible flame and I was supposed to set a timer for 15 minutes and stir. Every. Fifteen. Minutes. For. Five. Hours. (I love Mr Keller). I stirred and stirred and saw the level of onions go down and down and they didn’t color at all. (Another ten mails/pictures: how is yr color? Mine look like this. Like two girls on the beach checking the color of their skins by lifting a bikini strap ) and yes, ofcourse at some time I gave up, went upstairs to do something innocent and on my way back down the stairs I smelled the smell… Yikes. Skipped the last four steps, jumped down, skirted the corner and shoved the pot from the burner. In the same move I slid another pot from the shelve, dumped the lot from the burned pot in the clean one, set the timer and s t i r r e d. Smooth moves!

This is after 4 hours of stirring. I refer you to Tanna’s for the detailed recipe. She did a beautiful write-up. So... after 5 hours I was left with a golden brown mass of very soft onions. I’ve seen onions more caramelized than this. Maybe I was being too careful and left too much liquid in? Against my habit I decided to add the advised 1.5 tbs flour. Transformation took place when the stock was added! (the finished stock was far more dark chestnut coloured and more jelly-like than thesethese pictures show).
Wow! Almost instantly this concoction of still warm onions and prepared stock transferred into “soupe à l’oignon”. The colour, the smell! And all this prior to reducing the soup and adding herbs. I did add a few drops of very good quality almost sirupy balsamic vinegar.
I had already baked some french bread (Ortiz’ recipe) to accompany the meal and used toasted slices of this as croutons to float on top of the soup. Mr. Keller advises to use Comte or Emmentaler, grated as well as slices. I used a Dutch farmer’s cheese, very much like Emmentaler with just a hint of creaminess to it.

We also had our bit of fun discussing soup bowls/tureens and this time I felt lucky to be in Europe. As far as we Dutch bakers have been gawking at the availability of lots of goodies in the US, at least we can buy our tureens at a fraction of the cost in the States (Xenos; 1,-- €) but then again….she has got those cute lids to cover the tureens!!
There were 7 of us that night to enjoy the soup and unanimously this one got great points. You wouldn’t have guessed from appearance but this is truly a meal in itself. (Apologies for the lighting in the pictures). Would I do this again? Yes, I will continue to use this recipe for the stock, but I like to do something different with the onions and see where that will lead me. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of cooking together and yes I will do that again anytime!


  1. Now, would those have been been bikinis...Oh my heart be still. That is really quite a picture that pops into the mind.
    Nice job with the cutting of the onions photo. Truly 7 quarts is a lot of onions no matter how many onions you have to cut to get them.
    At least it was really wonderful soup

  2. You know what I was thinking when I saw those onions? That next time you should lay them on a roasting tin, cover with foil and put them in the oven at a low heat to caramelise. Think that would work? It looks gorgeous by the way - I wish my guys liked soup!

  3. You and Tanna had way too much fun with this one! I heard all about it! The final product looks yummy, but there were no left overs! Boo!

  4. This looks really good!

  5. i think your soup turned out really well, too-this is one odf my favorites- enjoyed visiting your sight today!

  6. I love this kind of soup but knew there was a good reason I'd never attempted making it. : )

    Yours looks absolutely fantastic (*drooling over photos*), and I loved reading about your adventures.

  7. What a delicious looking bowl! Onion soup is one of my favorites, and yours looks perfect.


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