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JULIA: I'm chopping onions for French onion soup.
We're going to brown them in butter and simmer them in stock and then gratinée them, like this.
This is French onion soup, exactly the same kind you'd get if you were in Paris, France, and you can make it yourself.
♪ ♪ Takes a lot of onions to make onion soup, if you're a do-it-yourself type and want to do it from scratch.
And... onion soup is an awfully good dish.
You have it in...
I think if you...
When you think of French soup, usually French onion soup is the first one that comes to mind.
It's not at all difficult to make by yourself if you know how to chop onions, which I'm going to show you how to do.
But I want to say right at the beginning that you can get extremely good canned and packaged soups, which are already made, but what I want to show you is how to gratinée it, and also how to disguise boughten soup so it seems as though you've made it yourself.
But first, I'm going to talk about chopping the onions.
You see how I chop them?
It's very quick, like this.
And then boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom all the way down, which is easy to do if you just take a little practice.
When you hold your knife... And you want a good sharp knife.
I always use knives of ordinary steel that rust, but which will sharpen when you have to sharpen them.
If you notice a butcher-- they always have very sharp knives which are professionally done.
They only do just something like that about every three or four times they cut.
But at home, your knife usually gets a little duller than that, so I find a good system that's just a regular butcher steel is you rub it like that.
See, the knife is at a very slight angle there.
You rub it up and down on one side and rub it up and down on the other, and then finish it off like that.
Then you always have a sharp knife.
If you... you can feel by the edge when it's sharp.
Now, when you hold your knife, you take your thumb and forefinger and grip the top of the blade like that and then hold the rest of the knife in your other fingers.
This may seem a little awkward at first, but you want your knife to act just as though it were part of your hand.
And you chop straight down, like that.
Now you... For the onion, you cut it across at the root end, like that.
And then you cut off a little tiny bit here and a little tiny bit there.
And you hold the onion with your thumb that way and your fingers this way.
Your fingernails are pointed away because you don't want to cut your hands off or your fingers off, and your knife sort of knocks against your knuckles as you move your finger down, like that, see?
Now you're coming straight down... like that.
And then after you've done a little practice on it, it just goes like that.
If you're going to slice potatoes, you do it exactly the same way.
There, I'll do another one.
Slowly, like that... See, that's very... that's very fast, and there's...
In French cooking, there's usually quite a bit of chopping and stuff, and if you learn how to do it quickly, it's a very good idea because then you don't get discouraged if you see that you have to have four pounds of sliced mushrooms.
You can do mushrooms.
I meant to put oil in there, and I put vermouth instead, but that doesn't make any difference.
We're going to cook the onions in oil and in butter.
We use... We say we cook them in butter, but you always put a little oil in, too, because they're going to cook quite a long time.
I'm going to give full details as we go along, so if you want to take notes, you can jot them down.
We're going to make enough soup for six people.
So we're going to use about a quart and a half of onions.
I think I don't have quite a quart and a half there.
That ought to be about it.
Now I need just one or two more.
But you can see when you practice this how really quickly it goes.
That'll make just about enough.
Now, when you do the first part of the onion cooking, it's important that they get slightly soft before you... ...before you begin browning them.
Otherwise, you'll just have sort of burned, raw onions.
And if you want the taste of the onions to come out into your soup, so that you'll have to soften them up first.
And this preliminary cooking in French is called étouffée.
You just cover it and cook them moderately fast, but you have to keep looking at them.
As long as we've got so many onions here, I'm going to show you one more trick, which is how to dice onions, 'cause very often you get that.
Holding your knife the same way-- get this butter out of the way-- cut it in half across the root end.
Now, the root end is right there.
What I'm going to do is to cut down this way, cut across that way, and then cut down, and it will fall into dice.
But I always want to keep the onion slices attached to that little end there.
And see, you just cut down like that.
And then cut across... like that.
And then using the same grip, just cut right down there, and there you are with diced onion.
That's a very good trick to have because it goes so quickly.
Now, get these onions off and then I'll show you how to get the onions off your hands, which is often a problem.
Now, if you use hot water, you're gonna set the onion.
So rinse your hands first in cold water, and then rub them in salt, wash off the salt and then do them in hot water and soap.
And that really gets all the onion off.
You can always repeat it, if necessary.
So that gets the onion off.
Now I'll have to look at our étouffée, our onions over here.
Now, they're cooking nicely.
And they've softened up a little bit.
Now we can turn the heat up and brown them.
Now, the browning is something that you have to be very careful of, 'cause you're gonna turn the heat fairly high, and you really have to keep stirring them up about every two or three minutes.
That's the... That's your only difficult part of-- and I can't say it's difficult, it just means that it takes a little time.
If you're doing something else over on your worktop, you could keep doing that, but just keep stirring your onions until they brown.
I'm gonna let these brown quietly over here for a while, and here's some that I have which are already brown.
I'll keep stirring those up while we're going on with this.
I didn't want you to have to wait for 20 minutes.
Now, it's amazing to think that that great big pot of onions will reduce just down to this, but they do.
You see that's a nice sort of mahogany brown there.
And we're going to give it a very slight thickening with flour.
We're gonna use about three tablespoons of flour.
One, two, three.
In France, when you use a thickening of flour, except in very rare instances, you always cook it a little bit-- you also, for color, want this flour to brown just a little bit.
And you should do that for about three minutes in all.
And then, after you've gotten your flour brown, you add your stock.
And this is our stock here.
If you're doing onion soup from scratch, you're gonna get a much better flavor and a much more personal flavor if you use your own stock that you have made yourself out of beef bones.
You can-- it's terribly easy to do.
You just brown the bones in the oven and then put in some onions, carrots and herbs and simmer it in a pot like this for three or four hours or more, strain it off, degrease it, and there you are, and you have your own flavoring.
However, you can use canned beef bouillon and water.
I've got two quarts of stock here, which is for our six-people onion soup.
And this is-- if you use canned bouillon, you would use half canned bouillon and half water.
Now, this is blending.
Blending the stock with the onions and flour.
You pour in about that much, and then beat it up with one of these wire whips.
And when the flour is thoroughly blended, you just set it over heat again.
And then this has got to cook about... well, you can tell from tasting it how long to cook it.
I'm gonna put that much in.
It takes a good half hour for the onions and the stock to blend themselves and their flavors.
And you can also, if you'd like, put in a little vermouth.
I'll put in about a cup of vermouth there.
Now, that's just gonna simmer quietly.
And if you taste it at this point, it doesn't... it tastes all right, but it hasn't gotten the blending of flavors that... ...you will have.
It's perfectly good, but it'll be much better.
Now, here are these onions, which are cooking.
I shan't go on cooking them anymore, but you can see it takes quite a long time to cook.
And there's a little bit of brown down there.
So I shall take those off.
And... For our onion soup gratinée, we will want toasted bread.
This is just ordinary French bread cut that thick and then put in a 325 oven for about half an hour.
You keep looking at it, and when it gets that sort of a crispiness all the way through and a light brown, it's done.
This you can do way ahead of time, a day ahead of time, if you want.
And then for our cheese, we're going to have a mixture of grated Swiss and Parmesan.
And we also have just regular Swiss.
Now, we'll consider that this is a soup that you have bought out of a can or a package mix, and it's hot and ready to go, and this is what you can do to flavor it and make it seem as though it were your very own soup that you had made from scratch and nobody else had... so it's like nobody else's.
Now, one thing that's a very French method is-- sort of a French peasant type of soup-- is to poach an egg and put it on a round of toast, and then pour the soup over it.
So we're going to poach some eggs here.
I'm gonna let that cook a little more.
Now, get my eggs first.
This, I think, if you haven't done poached eggs in the French method, you're gonna find very nice, because you can do them way ahead of time.
Now, you never know with eggs, unless you live on a farm, how fresh they are.
I hope these are very fresh eggs, but you can't ever take a chance on it.
So if it's not a fresh egg, the white dribbles off and the yolk stands, or sort of swims away, and it just looks awful.
But what you do is to put the eggs into simmering water for exactly ten seconds.
There's one, two... five... six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
And that's going to firm them up just enough so that they will hold their shape when they go into the water.
You don't ever put any salt into egg-poaching water, because that can sometimes make the white disintegrate.
But you do put in a little bit of vinegar.
This can be ordinary white vinegar.
About a tablespoon.
I can't seem to get it open.
If I bang it, it'll open.
I don't know why they put these covers on so tight.
You use about a tablespoon of vinegar per quart of water.
That's about a quart and a half, so there's a tablespoon and a half.
And the vinegar helps coagulate the white.
Then-- now, here are our eggs which have been dropped in.
We'll just break it, and then break it just as closely over the water as you can.
Now, you see that's staying pretty well together.
If you get an egg straight out of the hen, it just absolutely holds together in the most beautiful way.
But that's pretty good, I think.
Now, you want to-- Those should cook about three minutes.
I'm gonna set the timer here.
And while they're cooking, we will go on with the rest.
I'm going to... You saw the gratinée in the beginning, in which it was in a big casserole.
Now, you can also do it in individual bowls.
So I'm going to set that over there.
Bring our soup back again.
The water, when you're poaching your eggs, should just barely simmer, very, very slowly.
Now, this soup can be put into a bowl and cheese put on top of it.
And then it can be gratinéed in the oven.
That looks good, doesn't it?
This is a mixture of... ...of Parmesan and Swiss.
You can use all Parmesan or all Swiss.
That's a very cute little thing there.
That would be for serving the soup just as a first course.
You always dribble a little bit of oil or melted butter over the top of it so it'll brown nicely.
Now, look at our eggs.
They're coming along nicely.
Let's move these out of the way.
That's not quite done.
You want to have the yolk so that it's just set-- I mean, the yolk liquid and the white just set.
So while that's continuing, I'll put these, in the bowls, put these into the oven and gratinée them.
I'll have to remember to keep my eye on those.
I noticed when I picked up that egg, I was a little rough with it-- there's our timer-- and the yolk broke.
That's just an illustration that you have to be careful when you're handling them.
Now, we want to wash the eggs off, wash the vinegar off.
So just put them in a bowl of cold water, like that.
And that washes off the vinegar and also stops the cooking so that the eggs are just-- when you've taken them out of the water, the cooking stops because they're in cold water.
And they can then-- You can cook them if you're going to do poached eggs for breakfast, for instance.
And, you know, if it's one of those great big hurried breakfasts, you can poach them ahead of time and put them in cold water and then serve them the next morning.
It doesn't hurt them at all.
It doesn't toughen them or do anything.
And if you're gonna do eggs in aspic, you'll do it exactly this way and then put them in ice water.
And then, you know, you put them in a little, tiny, round bowl and pour jellied consommé over them, and it's a lovely summer dish.
But with this one, we're gonna use it now.
And if you wanted also to serve it now, um... poached eggs on toast.
You always take it out of the water and then dry it on a towel using a slotted spoon.
And with this, we're going to...
I can hear my gratinées going.
I don't want anything to have happened.
There you are.
Those look very nice, I think.
And those you just serve as is.
Now, to get on with the poached eggs.
I was afraid that I might let those burn up.
There you've got your toast round there.
You put your egg on, and you ladle your soup onto it.
This is done a great deal in France.
It's sort of a peasant system of eggs, and it makes me want onion soup as a main course.
You would have it like that.
Now... We're going to put the soup into a terrine, the way you saw it in the beginning.
Now, here we will say that this is, again, canned soup.
You want to make it taste like your own soup.
So you pour it into your terrine.
I'd better turn off all my heat here.
And then you want to disguise its flavor.
We did-- in this one, we did put vermouth.
You can add your vermouth to it, or you could put in some red wine, if you like.
And you can also... You'd think there'd be enough onions now, but a little raw onion gives a little, as the French call it, a je ne sais quoi of added flavor.
So you just grate your onion in.
I'm grating two onions, 'cause we've got quite a lot of soup here.
And then, if you want that lovely, stringy feeling-- you know, when you pick the soup up and all the cheese strings down from your spoon-- then you would put some slivered cheese in.
I'm using this slivered part of the grater here, or you could use the large hole.
And I'm gonna put in that much.
That's about three ounces, I guess.
And you just sliver it in.
And then that-- The reason you sliver it is so that it'll melt slowly.
Now I'll do some big grates in so we can get a little bit of everything.
I think that's about enough.
Then, if you want to, you can also add a little bit of cognac, which is... that's sort of a very French fillip.
I'll put in about, oh, a little over three tablespoons.
You don't want too much in.
Then we put on our toast rounds.
And this just finishes up just the same as the little bowls, and it's gonna look exactly like the soup that we had in the beginning.
I guess that's about all it'll take.
And then put the cheese on.
You want a lot of cheese on.
I've got about a cup and a half here.
You have to use-- Really, what you're doing is spreading it on, because it melts down very quickly once you gratinée it.
And your oil.
You know, I keep using vermouth instead of oil.
(chuckles) There's our oil.
I'm using, again, this-- a very light olive oil.
You can use melted butter if you don't like oil.
Now, that goes into the oven to gratinée.
I won't put it in, 'cause you've seen how it goes.
I'm gonna take out this other one that we first had and show you a final fillip.
We've really done just about as much as I can think of to do to onion soup.
There you are.
You see, you can, rather than gratinée it, you can just put it in the oven and then let the top brown, if it will.
And if it won't brown, you can just stick it under the broiler.
Now, this is a final enrichment.
Well, there goes the brandy.
Now, here's an egg yolk and some corn starch and some Worcestershire.
And you put in about a half a teaspoon of Worcestershire and about... a teaspoon of corn starch and a little more brandy.
Luckily, there's some left from all I spilled.
About three tablespoons.
Then you beat it all up like that.
And then you want to add a little bit of your hot soup to this.
When you combine anything with egg yolks, you have to do it-- heat the egg yolks up very gradually as you keep on putting a little bit more in.
The only trouble about this method, though it's fun, it does mess up your crust a little bit.
But if you want to have these fancy fillings, you sometimes have to pay for them.
Then you pour it back in.
Then you take your casserole and you sort of give it a little shimmy, like that.
And that's gonna mix all of this cognac and Worcestershire and everything up into it.
That's very nice.
Now, I guess we're through with everything I can show you about onion soup.
And we've really, as we can see, taken French onion soup about as far as it can go.
Now, and this one, this is, as you can see, quite a heavy soup, so we're going to serve a very light supper with it.
We have our soup and we have a rosé wine, which is chilled.
Rosé goes awfully nice with almost anything.
And we have a vegetable salad here and cold meats.
These are some fresh string beans which have been dropped in a big pot of boiling water and boiled until they're just barely tender but still have a slightly crisp taste.
And French bread, again, because you'll probably want more bread with the soup.
And then we're going to end up with cookies and a bowl of fruit.
That makes a really very nice supper after the movies or a Sunday lunch or something like that.
Now... Let me see.
I like these bowls very much.
This is the same kind of a bowl that we used for a gratinée.
But when you're gonna serve the soup in it, you can have the soup heated up and then put the cover on.
And you take the cover off, and there is your steaming soup.
You wouldn't use it for the little gratinée that we saw before, where you gratinéed it under the broiler.
In that case, you just would bring it in and serve it as is.
And fruit, I think, is about right as a dessert.
Now, I think you've seen several important things, which one of the main ones was how to brown onions properly without having burned onions, which is, in other words, it takes a little bit of time.
Well, that's all for this time.
This is Julia Child.
♪ ♪ Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org ANNOUNCER: Julia Child is coauthor of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
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This has been a WGBH videotape production.