29 May 2007

Cooking in Paris: Onion-Cheese Soup


In 2007, we rented an apartment in Paris to save money on food. It was as simple as that.

Besides, I thought cooking in Paris might be a heady experience. I was right.

Part of that is due to the bottle of wine my husband opens about 7 p.m. as I head for the kitchen. The other part is the cheese.

I’ve been saving cheese rinds for nearly a week now, with the idea of making some sort of cheese-y soup to go with baguettes from area bakeries.

I opened my cheese rind bag the other day. Here’s what I had: Rind from Comte and St. Paulin cheeses, purchased at FranPrix and Leader Price, respectively.

(My game plan was to try budget-priced cheeses to see if I liked them before purchasing higher-priced versions from a fromagerie. Being from Wisconsin, I can live on cheese, so buying a lot of it presents no problems.)

I bought the creamy St. Paulin on a whim, because St. Paulin-Louiseville is the area of Canada where my great-grandmother, called Mémere, was born and raised.

Then at an Ed store in the 18th (an upscale Ed, more or less), I found a chevre from the Poitou-Charentes area, where Memere’s ancestors originated. It, too, had a rind.

I melted the rinds in a saucepan over low heat, first adding about a tablespoon of unsalted butter and then about 1/3 cup cream.

This is the result of that experiment, made with what I had on hand:

Three-Cheese Onion Soup
  • about 1 cup cheese rinds from Comte, St. Paulin and chevre
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 3-4 sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • dash extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 2 onion-garlic bouillon cubes
  • 2-3 cups hot water
  • 2 teaspoons Provencal sauce
  • dash herbes de Provence
Chop cheese rinds into small pieces and set aside. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add cheese and cream. Maintain medium-low heat until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, slice onions and mince garlic; combine with olive oil and butter in medium stockpot. Heat water and drop in soup cubes; stir until cubes melt.

When onions have begun to turn golden brown, add water and herbes. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Add melted cheese and allow flavors to marry over medium heat for about 15 minutes. You may want to fish out any large pieces of rind still left.

Serve with salad and a baguette. (You may not be able to find Provençal sauce locally. Same with the bouillon cubes. Vegetable bouillon and tomato sauce would do.)

I made this with budget-priced cheeses, and it was fantastic. I think it was the best soup I’ve ever made (she said modestly).

We paired it with a rosé from Provence. Maybe not the perfect choice but not bad at all.

Honestly, you cannot go wrong with food here.

12 comments:

Lydia said...

Sounds utterly delicious! This proves what I have always thought true -- that you cannot get bad food in France! Glad you are enjoying your trip, and that you have time to share some of the moments with us.

Kalyn said...

Sounds like you're having so much fun.

katiez said...

Sounds like a wonderful soup - made better with all the the bits of memories...and the Provencal rose....

pepper said...

Hey Mimi, I am savouring Paris through your posts. When I travel I also try to stay somewhere where I can cook (usually a hostel). Partly to save $$ but mostly because shopping and cooking is so much part of experiencing a place. I do love restaurants but constantly eating out starts to feel artificial very quickly.

Terri said...

This looked and sounded delicious. And how right you are...you truly cannot go wrong with the food from France.

Jann said...

This looks really delicious~ I wish i was close by to come over and have a taste! Have fun and enjoy this glorious city!

Mimi said...

We are having fun, the food is good all over, except for the horse meat we tried. I think cooking and shopping brings you closer to the people.

We are in CDG now, at a cafe and waiting to go home. It rained a lot and of course, now today is glorious.

No matter. I left a part of myself here.

Kristen said...

Each and every post makes me so jealous. That soup...oh my!

Betty C. said...

A great idea for leftover cheese -- hope you are having the time of your life!

Mimi said...

Oh, Kristen it was the best soup I've ever made.

BG. I have succeeded at part of the challenge you suggested but not all but I have not given up!

Anonymous said...

What a good idea for using up the rinds for soup Mimi, carry on having fun.
Anne

Lisa said...

Sounds just delicious, Mimi! What a wonderful time, wonderful food...mmm.