French Onion Soup Serves 6 Ingredients: 2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil 6 onions (about 3 pounds/1.
4 g total), thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 large sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf ½ cup/110 ml dry red wine ½ cup/110 ml sherry 8 cups/2 liters good quality beef stock Salt and freshly ground black pepper 6 3/4-inch-/2-cm-thick slices sourdough bread 6 ounces/175 g Gruyère cheese, shredded 2 tablespoons/about 5 g thinly sliced fresh flat leaf parsley Method: To prepare the soup and toast: Place a heavy based large pot over a moderate heat. Drizzle the olive oil into the hot pot and add the onions. Cook the onions for 1 hour or until they are golden, stirring often. Once the onions become very soft they will begin to stick to the bottom of the pot and turn a caramel brown color. As this occurs, scrape the browned onions from the bottom of the pot and stir them into the remaining onion mixture. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until the garlic softens. Add the red wine and sherry and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquids reduce by half. Add the stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top, if necessary. Season the soup lightly with salt and pepper. Add just a bit of salt and pepper here, but not too much since the soup will reduce as it simmers and the flavors will become more concentrated. Allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler on high. Arrange the sourdough bread slices on a baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes or until golden brown on top. To serve:
Divide the soup among 6 high sided ovenproof serving bowls. Place the bowls of soup on a heavy baking sheet. Place one bread slice, toasted side down, on top of each bowl of soup. Divide the cheese among the soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Place the soup bowls under the broiler for about 3 minutes or until the cheese melts and is golden brown. Remove from the broiler and serve. Roasted Pork Loin with a Dijon and Parsley Crust Accompanied by a Fricassee of Chanterelles, Shallot and Garlic Serves 6 Ingredients: One 2½- to 3-pound/1- to 1.4-kg boneless pork loin roast, silver skin removed Salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons/45 ml olive oil 2 tablespoons/30 g Dijon mustard 3/4 cup/30 g thinly sliced fresh flat leaf parsley 1/4 cup/60 ml chicken broth 2 shallots, finely diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 pound/450 g fresh chanterelle mushrooms, stem ends trimmed, halved if large One 1/2-ounce/15-g fresh black truffle Method: For the pork roast: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon/15 ml of oil over the pork and rub to coat the pork all over with the oil. Cook the pork in the hot pan until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total. The pork will still be raw. Place the sauté pan in the oven and roast the pork for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 140°F/60°C when inserted into the center of the pork roast. As the pork roasts in the oven, turn it occasionally to ensure it browns evenly. Remove the pork from the oven and brush the Dijon mustard over the top and sides of the pork. Sprinkle 2/3 cup/25 g of the parsley over a work surface. Roll the mustard-coated sides of the pork in the parsley to coat, patting the parsley so that it adheres to the pork. Allow the pork to rest for 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan drippings in the
sauté pan. Stir over medium heat to loosen the pan drippings and bring the pan juices to a simmer. Meanwhile, for the mushrooms: Place another large sauté pan over moderate heat. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons/30 ml of olive oil over the hot pan. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute or until soft. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for a further 1 minute. Add the chanterelles and sauté for about 8 minutes or until the chanterelles are tender and juices form. Stir in the remaining parsley and season with salt and pepper. To serve: Divide the mushrooms among 4 serving plates. Cut the pork roast into thin slices and transfer the pork slices to the plates. Drizzle the pan juices over the pork. Shave the truffle into thin slices over the pork and serve. St. Agur with Fresh Figs Serves 6 Ingredients: 14 ounces/400 g St. Agur blue-veined cheese 4 fresh figs, cut into quarters 1/2 cup/110 ml ruby Port Crackers Vintage Port Method: Allow the cheese to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving. Arrange the cheese on a platter with the fresh figs. Place the Port in a heavy small saucepan with high sides over medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until it is reduced to a glaze. Drizzle the Port glaze alongside the cheese. Serve with crackers and pour a nice vintage Port for drinking.