Sunday, November 14, 2010

French Onion Soup Gratinee

Gratinee is the classic way to serve a great French onion soup.  I've seen several versions of onion soup gratinee in restaurants over the years.  Some use a whole peeled onion, some are julienne sliced onion.  I like the original version that was cooked in Paris bistros the best.  Originally, gratinee was made with chopped onion.  If you have been a reader of my recipe blog, then you have seen that I cook authentic traditional food with a nice clean cafe or bistro style presentation with no extra personalized ingredients.  My own inventive recipes I have posted in my blog do get a bit wild in style.  My onion soup gratinee recipe never changes!  This gratinee soup is always baked or broiled in a soup crock.
     Recipe:  Saute a couple cloves of chopped garlic and 1 whole medium size chopped onion together in butter and olive oil, in a sauce pot, over medium high heat. 
     Stir the onions often so they evenly caramelize to a very light brown color. 
     When the onions become lightly browned, add equal amounts of rich chicken stock and beef stock.  Add enough stock to cover the onions with an inch of broth.   
     Add a bay leaf.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add a few pinches of oregano.
     Add a pinch of marjoram.
     Add a few pinches of thyme. 
     Add just a few drops of worcestershire sauce. 
     Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for thirty minutes over low heat. 
     Remove the bay leaf. 
     There should be a high proportion of cooked onion to the amount of broth. 
     Place a soup crock on a baking pan. 
     Ladle the soup into the crock. 
     Place a thick, staled, dry, hard piece of French Bread on top of the soup in the broth as a crouton.  (There is no need to season and bake the crouton first.  You want to taste the soup and cheese and not an over seasoned greasy crouton.  I've seen too many onion soups ruined by a greasy over seasoned crouton.  Besides, the original was made with a plain dry stale bread.) 
     Place a few slices of gruyere cheese on top of the crouton. 
     Place the pan with the soup crock under a broiler set on low. 
     Let the cheese melt and lightly brown. 
     Set the gratinee on a serving dish. 
     Garnish the plate with a parsley sprig.
     Gratinee is a great soup for the chilly fall season.  The lightly caramelized onions turn sweet in the broth.  The two broths combine as a great classic traditional onion soup flavor.  Oregano and thyme are the main herbs in the soup flavor.  The cheese, crouton and onion soup combine as one of the great flavors of all time.  Gruyere cheese is considered to be the classic cheese for gratinee, but bleu cheese, swiss or any favorite French cheese can be used for gratinee.  Gratinee began as a late hours, bistro menu item and is now a standard light lunch or dinner appetizer.  Gratinee is a nice "feel good" French soup!   YUM!  ...   Shawna

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