Thursday, March 26, 2009

Onion Soup all'Italiana

First of all, let me say I wouldn't be making this soup if Spring were REALLY here. But it's still cold and rainy here in Central New Jersey, despite the crocuses peeping up through the earth. You know how they say "If you carry an umbrella, it won't really rain?" Well, maybe if I make this wintry-weather soup, spring will really arrive.

This soup recipe is from one of my favorite cooks - Julia Child. My dog-eared and tattered copies of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" are decades old. I learned long ago that her recipes, while typically very long and detailed, are fail-proof. But still, I alter her recipe slightly, using chicken stock instead of beef, and fontina cheese instead of the usual Swiss or gruyere.

Onion Soup all'Italiana

1 1/2 pounds, or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions (the food processor is great here)
3 Tb butter
1 Tb oil

1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar (helps the onions to brown)

3 Tb flour

2 quarts boiling chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
salt, pepper to taste
3 Tb. cognac

rounds of toasted French or Italian bread
1 to 2 cups grated Fontina cheese

Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in a covered saucepan for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for three minutes.

Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning.

Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Toast the bread rounds lightly in a toaster or broiler. Place soup in individual, oven-proof bowls and top with the bread and grated cheese. Place under the broiler a few seconds until the cheese is melted.


  1. Delicious!
    It's so cold and damp this a.m., I could use a bowl of this!

  2. I haven't had French Onion soup in so long. That looks like it would really hit the spot on this dreary day here in NJ. When will this weather change???

  3. I LOVE onion soup. Yours looks great. I can eat it even in spring and summer as long as its not sweltering.

  4. Wonderful version of a beautiful soup! One of my faves :)

  5. what a great version of onion soup. I sure hope it warms up there soon. I'm heading to NY from Phoenix next week and I'm not looking forward to the cold that's for sure.

  6. I love onion soup, your version looks especially delicious!

  7. We often order Onion Soup when eating out in a restaurant. I like the flavor combinations you used. I have to try making it someday...thanks.

    The weather has been nasty hasn't it? Denver got 8 inches of snow after weeks of weather in the 70's ..... my poor son and daughter-in-law and grandson! It'll melt fast however. Hope we don't have to worry about the same thing.