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View Full Version : French Onion Soup - what to serve with it?



Nishnabotna
08-23-2009, 06:27 PM
Never made French Onion Soup before, so I thought I would give it a try to celebrate Halloween (don't ask). But my American brain won't let me get away with serving only soup. What should accompany it that won't deflect attention away from it?
Afterwards, I think a good Tiramisu for dessert.

mretzloff
08-23-2009, 06:29 PM
A crispy loaf of baguette and a salad with a vinaigrette would go great with the soup. I love French onion soup. Just make sure you do not cover the entire soup with cheese, the way most restaurants do.

slcsteve
08-23-2009, 06:50 PM
Funny you should mention French onion soup. I made this recipe today and had a simple chopped lettuce salad with caesar dressing along with it. I finished off the sauvignon blanc.

2 1/2 pounds yellow onions, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (8 cups)
1/4 pound unsalted butter

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup medium-dry sherry

1/2 cup brandy or Cognac

1 1/2 cups good dry white wine

4 cups beef stock

4 cups veal stock

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan

In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, saute the onions with the butter and bay leaf for 20 minutes, until the onions turn a rich golden brown color. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and brandy and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes.


Add the beef and veal stocks plus salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, taste for salt and pepper, and serve hot with grated Parmesan.

djmike523
08-24-2009, 12:16 AM
A crispy loaf of baguette and a salad with a vinaigrette would go great with the soup. I love French onion soup. Just make sure you do not cover the entire soup with cheese, the way most restaurants do.

I concur... if it's for a larger group of people, you could easily and economically balance the seasoning/sodium of the soup with, say, small appetizers consisting of beef and (small sweet onion, or cold with cream cheese and 'flavor'-such as scallions and chives, or even just beef with tyme and a light dill sauce)....heck, if it's for Halloween, why dont you use the baguette and whip up a bowl of pumpkin infused dip (I know a great recipe but it's pretty tedious; google or foodnetwork.com would probably be of more help)

Nishnabotna
08-24-2009, 05:33 AM
Cool. The baguette and vinaigrette is in line with what I was thinking of, so that should do it.
Pumpkin infused bread dip, huh? That sounds interesting.

ouch
08-24-2009, 07:16 AM
Thomas Keller offers a fantastic recipe in his book Bouchon.

Noebie
08-24-2009, 07:31 AM
might be a good "side dish" as well, but i'm actually suggesting that you pour some in after deglazing - and light it with a match

i've been adding that step to my french onion soup for 30 years, and it really adds some oomph to the flavor

you could also flambe with cognac or whatever you use to deglaze

thirdeye
08-24-2009, 07:35 AM
A crispy loaf of baguette and a salad with a vinaigrette would go great with the soup. I love French onion soup. Just make sure you do not cover the entire soup with cheese, the way most restaurants do.

Perfect!!!!

Wendy
08-24-2009, 07:45 AM
A crispy loaf of baguette and a salad with a vinaigrette would go great with the soup. I love French onion soup. Just make sure you do not cover the entire soup with cheese, the way most restaurants do.

I agree about the salad and bread but the cheese over the top is wonderful. MMMMMM

tg16
08-24-2009, 07:51 AM
Never made French Onion Soup before, so I thought I would give it a try to celebrate Halloween (don't ask). But my American brain won't let me get away with serving only soup. What should accompany it that won't deflect attention away from it?
Afterwards, I think a good Tiramisu for dessert.

A few years ago, I wandered into a small restaurant in the French Qtr in New Orleans that served one meal and there was no menu. The meal was a small steak with french onion soup and french bread. The soup was great and the steak was seasoned with just the basics of salt and pepper. The combination went surprisingly well together. Since then, I've prepared the same meal, always with success.

Nishnabotna
08-24-2009, 07:54 AM
I'm trying a recipie from Cooks Illustrated. Everything I've tried from them has been perfect, so I expect no less from this.

Bobtrumpet
08-24-2009, 08:05 AM
We usually have a nice Caesar salad with the FOS. My wife has been experimenting with various soup recipes, and I get to be the lucky (and well fed) test subject. :001_smile

_JP_
08-24-2009, 09:31 AM
I like to make French onion soup with a splash of dry sherry in it. When served, croutons or a Holland Rusk can be floated on top. They'll help support the cheese if you want that. We used tow slices of Swiss and a slice of Mozzarella with Parmesan sprinkled on top of that. Then it was popped into the broiler until the cheese started to brown.

We served it in a small soup or bean crock that way. The cheese helped to keep it from spilling on the way to the table. Many people just peeled off the cheese and set it aside.

alexo
08-24-2009, 10:37 AM
A cold glass of Sauvignon blanc or Chardonnay and I'd be happy.


Maybe a little steamed asparagus with a little fresh home made mayo but that's overkill.

Scotto
08-24-2009, 10:56 AM
I'm trying a recipie from Cooks Illustrated. Everything I've tried from them has been perfect, so I expect no less from this.

While in most things I would agree with you, their onion soup is pretty lame by my standards. I have adapted a Jacques Pepin recipe over the years for mine, and there is no compare. Let us know if it works out for you.

A good onion soup requires nothing more than a simple green salad and a good loaf of bread to achieve nirvana. Or, if you would like to gild the lily, perhaps frisee aux lardons in lieu of the simple salad.

The Nid Hog
08-24-2009, 11:26 AM
Thomas Keller offers a fantastic recipe in his book Bouchon.

You had me at Keller.

Nishnabotna
08-24-2009, 11:33 AM
While in most things I would agree with you, their onion soup is pretty lame by my standards. I have adapted a Jacques Pepin recipe over the years for mine, and there is no compare. Let us know if it works out for you.


OK, I suppose that's part of the fun is to try things out. If I don't care for this recipie I may hunt you up and swindle you out of yours :cool:
Well, I may have to do that anyway even if I do like the Cooks version, just to see which is better.

moshulu
08-25-2009, 10:41 PM
I'm not knocking any of the advice and ideas expressed here, but why is onion soup always described as being "French"? I have lived in France for 15 years, and have yet to see this item on the menu of any bistrot or restaurant that does not cater exclusively to tourists. I suspect that the attribution is some kind of nostalgic (or perhaps imaginary) invocation of the nights spent roaming Les Halles, when France was a poor country and onion soup was a necessity on the menu. The same applies to vichyssoise - a soup that is unknown to most French people, and snails and frogs legs - shunned by the vast majority.

Every day, on my way back from work, and in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, I walk past the unspeakble local brasserie where I observe eager tourists scarfing canned onion soup and equally canned snails. It's enough to make me not want my dinner.

djmike523
08-25-2009, 11:47 PM
I'm not knocking any of the advice and ideas expressed here, but why is onion soup always described as being "French"? I have lived in France for 15 years, and have yet to see this item on the menu of any bistrot or restaurant that does not cater exclusively to tourists. I suspect that the attribution is some kind of nostalgic (or perhaps imaginary) invocation of the nights spent roaming Les Halles, when France was a poor country and onion soup was a necessity on the menu. The same applies to vichyssoise - a soup that is unknown to most French people, and snails and frogs legs - shunned by the vast majority.

Every day, on my way back from work, and in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, I walk past the unspeakble local brasserie where I observe eager tourists scarfing canned onion soup and equally canned snails. It's enough to make me not want my dinner.

mmm...this is good french toast; albeit mine isn't stale/hard :wink:

Nishnabotna
08-26-2009, 05:42 AM
I could call if Freedom Soup instead?

Scotto
08-26-2009, 08:45 AM
I'm not knocking any of the advice and ideas expressed here, but why is onion soup always described as being "French"? I have lived in France for 15 years, and have yet to see this item on the menu of any bistrot or restaurant that does not cater exclusively to tourists. I suspect that the attribution is some kind of nostalgic (or perhaps imaginary) invocation of the nights spent roaming Les Halles, when France was a poor country and onion soup was a necessity on the menu. The same applies to vichyssoise - a soup that is unknown to most French people, and snails and frogs legs - shunned by the vast majority.

Every day, on my way back from work, and in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, I walk past the unspeakble local brasserie where I observe eager tourists scarfing canned onion soup and equally canned snails. It's enough to make me not want my dinner.
Interesting. I believe Jacques Pepin used to talk about how the local workers used to have onion soup for breakfast on cold days before heading out. Perhaps it is a regional thing, but I would think you are a better source than I.

icon
08-31-2009, 10:50 AM
Onion soup is one of the cheapest meal you can make, onions are very cheap and with some yesterday's bread, you've made light, but hot meal for almost nothing.

This is the basic, but you can use :
- a spoon of wheat flour (just before watering fried onions, for a creamy texture),
- beef stock (instead of hot water)
- white wine (at the end of cooking)
- toasted bread
- cheese

and even cook it in the oven (grill) to make "Gratinée from Lyon", till cheese of the surface start to turn brown.

I often make some of the "light version" after party nights, I can't explain why, but it have a great effect on hung over.

You can serve it with salad, fried eggs, salt cured ham and drink the same wine you poured in your soup.