Episode from the podcastCrash Test Kitchen

What’s French for onion soup?

Released Monday, 22nd May 2006
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In France, this ubiquitous soup is known simply as “gratinée” by virtue of the de rigueur melted Gruyère cheese on top.
Our travels through Quebec brought me into contact with the real thing (not a packet mix) for the first time, so of course we had to try and make it ourselves. Last episode we made beef stock as the base, and in this instalment we finish the process of creating French onion soup from scratch.
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It was a bit of a tearjerker for Lenny, who had to slice all the oignons because I was busy with bookkeeping.
I’m sure you could just use shop-bought beef stock, but then you’d miss all the fun of making your own starting with just bones, water, vegetables and a few simple spices.
We had been a bit surprised by how light in colour and flavour our stock was, and some viewers have suggested we could have boiled it down to make it stronger. In the end, though, I think it was about right; a stock isn’t there to provide the primary flavour of a dish, and I don’t recall our Quebec gratinée experience being a particularly beefy one.
Two other examples of Quebec cuisine that caught our attention: Tourtière à la québécoise, a meat pie; and cipaille or “sea pie”, a layered meat dish crammed with different species.
Sea pie crops up repeatedly in Patrick O’Brian’s “Master and Commander” book series, as a dish made from whatever leftovers are at hand or whatever species are within musket shot. I’m sure it must be the same thing.
I reckon we’ll attempt cipaille sometime, accompanying it with another batch of gratinée of course.
– Waz
The post What’s French for onion soup? appeared first on Crash Test Kitchen.

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