I was very excited when I saw the challenge for Cook the Books from Briggs at Oh, Briggsy and Meg at Grow and Resist. It’s a simple concept, but full of potential and possibilities. One cookbook is chosen for each month of 2013 and first up is Dorie Greenspan’s, Around My French Table.
I like to be fearless in the kitchen. Fearless does not always equal success, but occasionally, I can cook something that blows mine and my husband’s culinary minds. I was hopeful that this would be one of those times. I chose to cook the Cheese-Topped Onion Soup, which is generally referred to as French Onion Soup. Luscious, sweet, oniony broth with lots of said onions, some boozy ingredients and crusty bread topped with bubbly, melty cheese. RIGHT. ON.
I did not alter the recipe at all, since this was my first time attempting the soup. I will mention that I chopped the onions with a slight variation to the method in the recipe. Instead of quartering the onions, I cut them in half, length-wise, then made the quarter cut almost to the stem end. This way, you can slice the onions with a little more stability, even if your knife skills aren’t perfect.
The most important part of the recipe seemed to be cooking the onions low and slow. This could take as much as an hour or more, with the occasional stir. Well, the onions took 3 1/2 hours to carmelize. Yes, you read that correctly. I thought I was doing something wrong and checked and rechecked the recipe. I heeded Ms. Greenspan’s warning to not burn them or the soup would be bitter. I missed my run for the day, Scout had to “do her business” in record time, and the longer the onions took, the more I resented them. Irrational, yes. Warranted? You betcha.
Onion drama aside, once I moved on to toasting the bread and melting the cheese, almost all was forgiven. It was delicious with a glass of red wine. My husband and I both ate two bowls each.
I’m not sure if I’ll make the dish again. I will ensure that I have no plans whatsoever and perhaps I’ll drink a bit of the white wine to pass the time.