French Onion Soup Redux

Onion soup is one of my daughter Sarah’s favorite things and so, in self-defense, I needed to come up with a way to make it for dinner more often than Julia Child’s stunning recipe would let me.  As a result, I adapted the recipe to make it a bit quicker.  If you have the time, though, certainly use the original, classic recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

2 T. butter
1T .olive oil
4 medium or large yellow onions thinly sliced (about 1 lb. or 1.5 kg)
½ t. salt
½ t. sugar
2 T. flour
3 cups of beef stock (preferably low sodium)
1/2 cup red wine (or dry white can s]be substituted but it will not have the lovely crimson color)
salt and pepper to taste (be careful of salt if the stock is high in sodium)
1 baguette or similar crusty loaf
4 oz. (about 100 grams) of Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 c. of freshly grated parmesan (preferably parmigiana reggiano but domestic parmesan is okay too)

PREPARATION:

1. Melt the butter and the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan with a cover over moderately low heat.
2. Add the sliced onions and stir to coat with the butter. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and very soft.
2. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook stirring frequently, until the onions have turned a deep golden color (10-20 minutes depending on your stove).
3. Lower the heat again and stir in the flour. Continue stirring until it forms a paste with the onions.
4.  Add about 1 cup of the stock or bouillon to the pan stirring with a whisk to prevent prevent lumps. Add the rest of the stock and the wine.
5. Simmer the soup for 20-30 minutes and then season with salt and pepper as needed.
6. Slice the baguette and toast lightly. Place the baguette in the bottom of a soup bowl and immediately top with the shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese helping the cheese to melt a bit.
7. Ladle the hot soup over the cheese toasts and sprinkle the parmesan over the top. Allow to sit for a few minutes for the cheese to fully melt.

[If you happen to have a broiler available AND oven proof bowls (most are not), you can reverse this and pour the soup into the bowls, topping with the toast and cheeses and then broil until the cheeses are bubbling and slightly browned.]

Apple Crisp

Sometimes you just want what you had growing up, not something different or even something better–just what is familiar and comfortable. That was true of my husband and his memories of apple crisp. He didn’t want all of the healthy (rolled oats) or tasty (nuts) additions. He just wanted the silky, caramel apples and the crunchy sugar and butter topping of his youth. To bring his memory to life, we had to reach out to the wife of his best friend in England. She shared her recipe for apple crisp more than twenty years ago and it is made throughout the summer, fall and winter in our house. With both deep thanks and credit to Jane Price!

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. cooking apples (preferably Honeycrisp)

12 T. dark  brown sugar (2 T. for apples and 10 T. for crisp)

4 T. water (or apple cider or apple juice if you happen to have it in the house)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 t. baking powder

6 T. butter at room temperature

 PREPARATION;

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

2.  Peel, core and slice apples.

3.  Place sliced apples,  water (or cider/juice) and 2 T. of brown sugar into a medium saucepan and cook gently until apples are fluffy.  Spoon apples into a pie plate or other oven safe dish.  The shallower and wider the dish, the crisper the topping will be; the narrow and taller the dish, the more the topping will be soft underneath and crisp on top.  It just depends on how you like it.

4.  Place flour in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle in baking powder, then add the butter and rub it in to the flour lightly using your fingertips.  When it looks crumbly, add the remaining brown sugar and mix.

5.  Sprinkle the topping over the apples, spreading it out with a fork.

6.  Place crisp on a high shelf in the oven (place on a baking pan if the container is very full and may spill over) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until topping is crunchy and juice from the apples is bubbling up around the edges.

7.  Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream, ice cream or plain.