Last month (November) was my turn to host Food 'n Flix and I chose the movie Julie & Julia. There are so many inspiring scenes and amazingly delicious dishes to choose from it was hard for me to decide where to let my inspiration take me. I ended up making a traditional French Onion Soup with a Mexican twist, because of a scene of Julia Child chopping onions. The scene takes place right after Julia Child's first day of cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu. Julia comes home to practice her onion chopping skills until she's more adept at it than her male classmates. She's chopped so many onions, that she has a huge pile of chopped onions that take over more than half of her kitchen table. Julia is still chopping away, crying and sniffling from the smell of the onions when her husband Paul gets home from work. The smell is so strong, he isn't able to spend more than a few minutes in the kitchen.
I love that scene because I have a love-hate relationship with onions. I love to eat onions! Cooked, grilled, raw, baked, covered in batter and fried. You name it, I'll eat it. But...I don't like chopping them. For as long as I can remember, chopping onions has made me cry. As soon as I slice into an onion, my eyes start to sting and well up with tears. Before you know it, the tears are streaming down my cheeks, and my mascara is running, making me look like something out of a telenovela.
My grandmother and aunts said that once I got older, I'd stop crying when chopping onions. Well, I'm 38 years old and I still cry every time I chop an onion. I've tried soaking the onions or rinsing them with cold water before chopping them. I've tried balancing a large piece of onion on top of my head while chopping them. I've worn large Jackie O style sunglasses while chopping onions. And I've even bit down on a piece of onion while I chopped. None of these tricks have worked. But still, I continue to slice and chop onions because the flavor they add to any dish is well worth the tears.
Such is the case with this classic French Onion Soup. Sweet caramelized onion in a golden broth topped with crispy slices of toasted bolillo roll and oodles of melted Manchego cheese. The Mexican twist to this soup comes from a splash of tequila that I use in place of white wine, which is what is traditionally used. This soup is so good it will bring tears to your eyes, even if you didn't cry while chopping the onions.
French Onion Soup w/ a Mexican Twist
(recipe adapted from The Bonne Femme Cookbook)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1-1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 2 bolillo rolls, cut in 1-1/2-inch slices
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
- In a large 3 to 4-quart stockpot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat just until the butter melts. Add the onions. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until softened, but not brown. Season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden brown. (About 30 to 40 minutes.)
- Turn the heat up to medium. Stir in the flour with a wire whisk. Let cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the chicken broth, then the tequila. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover stockpot, and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter with the finely chopped garlic until well combined. Spread garlic butter on one side of each slice of bolillo. Place bolillo slices, butter side up, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in oven for about 10 to 12 minutes until toasted and golden brown.
- Top each slice of bolillo with shredded cheese. Return to oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese has completely melted.
- To serve, ladle soup into bowl. Top with 2 slices of cheesy bolillo toast. Enjoy!!!