Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic

This week I have chosen to cover french onion soup – a dish that is ancient in origin – dating back to Roman times. The dish was known as dish of the poor, since onions were easy to grow. The modern way we see this soup originating in France in the 18th Century. Classically it is made with beef broth and topped with a crouton and cheese, then broiled to allow the cheese to melt.

Traditional french onion soup

2 lbs​Yellow onions, sliced thinly
4 oz​Unsalted butter
16 cups​Beef broth
2​Bay leaves, dry
1½ cups​Gruyere cheese, grated
1​Baguette, ½ inch sliced
1 tbsp​Granulated sugar
to taste​Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions to the pot and reduce to low heat. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to cook, stirring occasionally for roughly 45 minutes, or until onions have become soft. Add the sugar to the pot and increase the heat to high. Allow onions to caramelize to a deep brown color. Add your broth and bay leaves to the pot. Bring soup to a boil before reducing heat to low-medium and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place soup into a bowl and top with a slice of baguette and cheese, place under a broiler until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Jonathan’s french onion soup

1 lbs​Yellow onions, sliced thinly
½ lb​Red onions, sliced thinly
¼ lb​Shallots, sliced thinly
¼ lb​Green onions, sliced
2 oz​Unsalted butter
2 oz​Extra virgin olive oil
12 cups​Veal stock
4 cups​Chicken stock
2​Bay leaves, dry
1 pack​Gruyere cheese, pre-sliced
1​Baguette, ½ inch sliced
1 tbsp​Granulated sugar
to taste​Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add yellow and red onions to the pot and reduce to low heat. Cover pot with a lid and allow to cook, stirring occasionally for roughly 30 minutes. Add shallots, green onions and olive oil to the pot. Cover and allow to cook for roughly 15 more minutes, or until onions are soft. Add the sugar to the pot and increase heat to high. Allow onions to caramelize to a deep brown color. Add your stocks and bay leaves to the pot. Bring soup to a boil before reducing heat to low-medium and allowing to simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Place soup into a bowl and top with a slice of baguette and cheese, place under a broiler until cheese has melted and turned golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together and that the act of cooking is about caring and as long as your heart is in the dish you prepare, the people you are cooking for will appreciate it (and you).

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it is my pleasure to give you a peek into the mind of a chef. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – which focuses on “farm to table” style of cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

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