Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Do Vincent Price & Onion Soup Have In Common?

If you are like me you try to avoid eating Onion Soup at most restaurants out there.
Most restaurant pantries are stocked by food service mega-corporations like Sysco, US Foods and PFG in the US.  These corporations are the processed food suppliers to the majority of eating establishments.
Restaurants begin their French Onion Soup dishes with Onion Soup Base......a dark brown liquid or granular powder like the one pictured here.

Onion Soup based on this gives you an artificially onion flavored SALT LICK.
Yes, these soup bases have a very high sodium content.
They are nasty!

One of the more surprising cookbooks I have was given to me by my mother.
She passed it down to me from HER mother.
I find this quite hilarious since my grandmother was a country cook and cared not at all for grand living and fancy restaurants.  Why and where she would have picked up this cookbook is a mystery to me!

This cookbook is a collection of recipes from famous restaurants that Vincent and Mary Price visited in their travels around the world during their marriage, which spanned from 1949-1973.  (She was his second wife.)

Yes, this Vincent Price.....

In addition to being a famous Hollywood leading man and later, a B Movie Villain and all around "ham".....

He was a Gourmand Extraordinaire!

Or as they like to call them nowadays, he was a Foodie before there were Foodies!

This huge compendium of classic cooking recipes from the top dining spots around the world was my 1st Cookbook as a newly married woman.

While other 1980's newly marrieds were working on their meatloaves, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casseroles and pancakes, I was trying my hand at Coq au Vin, Steak au Poivre, Yorkshire Pudding, Haricot Verts a la Lyonnaise, Crepe Suzette and Gateaux Grand Marnier. ;-)

This book holds the best recipe for French Onion Soup bar none!
But over the years, I have made this recipe my own with changes and substitutions to make this heartier and more of a main course.
*My ingredient substitutions/changes are marked by asterisks.

From "A Treasury of Great Recipes", page 46, here is MY VARIATION....

serves 6 as a starter/4 as a meal 

3 tablespoons bacon drippings   *can use olive oil if no drippings are available
4 large onions, chopped fine    *Sliced thinly, not chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt     *"good" salt, like Himalayan or Sea Salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic, smashed   *or minced or powdered
1 sprig parsley
1 pinch thyme
1 quart chicken stock  * you can sub chicken bouillon cubes or granules(cut the amount of salt you add by half), but not onion soup ones
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cognac   * I omit because I don't have any
6 slices toasted French bread   * I use croutons
1 cup grated parmesan cheese  * I use shredded mozzarella cheese


1  You will need oven safe bowls for presentation/serving.

2 Over medium temperature in a large skillet, heat a deep skillet with the olive oil.

3  Add thinly sliced onions and cook until translucent.

4 Add the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic and cook until it is golden brown (careful not to burn).

5  Add the parsley sprig, thyme, chicken stock, wine, and simmer for 45 minutes, then remove from heat.

 6 While soup simmers, try to look busy.

7  To make it Soupe à L'Oignon Gratinée: preheat your oven's broiler setting;  laden soup into each bowl being careful not to overfill.  Float croutons on top of soup.

 Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over croutons.

Place bowls on baking sheet under broiler in oven until the cheese bubbles and browns.  Keep a close watch so you don't burn your cheese!

Remove the soup from the oven and eat.

Nom Nom Nom.



  1. Looks delicious! You just reminded me that I have a few of these bowls that got packed away when I moved a few years ago... I've got to pull them out and make this!

  2. My grandmoms recipe is pretty similar except for the cognac(though I have been known to take a shot or two of irish whiskey while make it)

    Now I want onion soup...damn you!! :)

  3. That looks delicious. Save some wine for the food!

  4. Looks and sounds delish! I copied the recipe to try. Thanks!


  5. The soup looks wonderful, and what a cool cook book too!


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