10.02.10: anniversary dinner and a film (french onion soup and The Dreamers–steak frites to come)


Onion Soup de Les Halles with Honey-Glazed Onions

[Editor’s note: this is another joint effort from the two of us, as we each took on a component of this meal. I’ll be taking the first half, while I’ll leave Michael to the steak.]


This all started with an email to Michael during the week–I had been flipping through our recent blog posts and noted with some alarm that they were all Mexican, pasta and/or Spanish dishes, and so I proposed that we make French food for something different and as part of our anniversary dinner…which turned into a weekend of anniversary dinners. What can I say–we know how to celebrate. Michael has been making noises lately about having steak, so out came the Les Halles Cookbook…and what happened turned things into an interesting evening.

(click image for photo credit)

But first, to address The Dreamers. This is a movie for people who love movies and/or fantasize about spending a month squirreled away in an elegantly-dilapidated Parisian apartment with fabulous, young, like-minded people while you all loaf about in various stages of deshabille. There’s a great scene when Isabelle (played by a lovely Eva Green) makes ratatouille for the group which she naturally burns, and their American friend deftly separates a banana into three equal segments so they all get a bite to eat. Maybe this is why French women don’t get fat–they burn dinner and then simply feast on bananas. (I’m kidding, of course.) But go see it anyway: it will make you want to stage your own little retreat from the world (if only, say, for a long weekend) and for a fantastically large bathroom with a big claw-footed tub.

But we must return to dinner; more specifically, my job which was making the soup. Les Halles’s onion soup is not difficult to make–really–but what it does require is a great deal of time to let those onions get dark and caramelized. It also requires oven-safe soup crocks, something I spent too long in the Lincoln Center Bed Bath and Beyond looking for before I gave up, so I ended up just sprinkling the Gryuere cheese over our Fiestaware bowls and letting the cheese melt into the soup itself. (I should also mention that I may have picked on the grated cheese a few too many times for us to properly coat the bowls, but I’m going to go on the record and say that the bowls were probably too wide for this application anyway.)

Because the soup took so damn long to make (as you really need to let those onions cook down to get the best, dark, caramelized flavor), we ended up eating half of Michael’s frites first and then dove into the soup and the steak together. While that wasn’t the original plan, everything still came out smashingly well, making any memories of kitchen bickering that may have transpired disappear in favor of salty, cheesy and oniony goodness.

Let this be a lesson for us all: time management is very important in the kitchen.

Find the recipe here: Onion Soup Les Halles

As for the honey-glazed onions, well, I’ll get to them after I make them one time when I don’t burn them.

  1. I don’t have those oven-safe crocks either–which is why I’ve never made French onion soup. But I love the stuff!

  2. Tracy said:

    I think every weekend should be a weekend of anniversary dinners. Will have to put The Dreamers on Netflix…

  3. Alisa said:

    It looks delicious, definitely worth the wait.

  4. jillian said:

    The Dreamers is so beautiful it makes me want to live another life.

  5. Tes said:

    I just love french onion soup… the picture just make me hungry for it 🙂

  6. Beth said:

    Go to the kitchen supply place in Chelsea Market. They have the old-fashioned, brown, oven-safe onion soup crocks and they’re pretty cheap — $4 or $6 each. I think you can get them in white too.

    • I really wanted to go down there, but by that point it was getting late and I’m pretty sure steam would have come out of M’s ears had I suggested it. 🙂 He was very worried something would happen to that meat!

  7. Kim said:

    Aww… I love French Onion Soup!! Mr. RGBistro actually made it for me mid-week a couple of weeks ago, and it was marvelous. We used some oven-safe bowls (with handles) that we found on clearance at Sur La Table for about $3.99 each last year over the holidays. I wanted the pair…. he made us by a full set of 12. “But honey, they’re cheap! And we can make proper French Onion Soup for all our friends now!”

    Yeah… I’m still waiting for that day.

    In the meantime, I’m with ya. Half the cheese is gone before it makes it into the soup. So I compensate by buying twice as much.


    P.S. And now Im gonna have to Netflix The Dreamers. 🙂

  8. Rich said:

    French onion soup is one of my favorite things in the world, and I’ve never had the Les Halles version. It looks like it’s next on the rotation!

  9. michael said:

    Had you dragged me to Sur la Table that day, I would have made an annoying number of jokes where I’d mispronounce as many words as I could ending in -able, *then* I’d have started steaming.

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