A couple of weeks ago, a small, ethnic grocery opened a few miles away. They had been struggling for close to a year to get it opened. The name was up on the building but the finishing of the interior and the stocking of the shelves just seemed to drag on. When we finally saw a flyer shoved in our mailbox announcing the grand opening, we knew we had to go try to support the little guy.
Last Saturday, we pulled into the parking lot and found we were the only car there. Uh oh!
We went in and, as we were already suspecting, found we were the only shoppers in the place. The sweetest young Myanmese lady was running the cash register and a gentleman who was likely her husband was tending a small lunch counter in the rear but that was it! It was sad to see so much hope in their eyes, so much inventory on their shelves but no shoppers.
Chuck and I both felt badly for them. You don’t like to see anyone fail but it doesn’t look like they are going to be there for long unless something changes dramatically and quickly.
To do our part, we stocked up on fresh produce. Prices were great and apples, bananas and such were on our shopping list anyway. A few bags of dried beans made it into our cart as we love a homemade bowl of bean soup from time to time. Instead of one head of garlic, we got the five-pack. Instead of buying the couple of onions on the weekly shopping list, we bought the five-pound bag.
What do you do with a five-pound bag of onions? French onion soup, of course! We had to stop someplace else for the baguette and Gruyère as Myanmar isn’t known for those items but that wasn’t a problem.
We were salivating for our favorite Soupe a l’Oignon by the time we got home from our shopping excursion so I went straight for Vincent Price’s “Treasury of Great Recipes” (one of my favorites as a prior post will attest) for the recipe he provided from Les Halles in Paris. We modify it slightly to our tastes but it is our go-to basis any time we have the craving. The recipe is below for your enjoyment.
‘Bon Appétit’ or perhaps that should be ‘Kaung kaung sa par’ thanks to our friends at that little grocery!
Soupe a l'Oignon
- 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 4 large onions — finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cloves garlic — mashed
- 1 sprig parsley
- 1 pinch thyme
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon cognac
- 1 slice French bread — toasted
- Gruyère cheese — grated
- In a deep saucepan, heat the bacon drippings. Saute the onions in the drippings over medium heat until the onions are just soft.
- Add flour, salt, pepper and garlic. Cook until mixture is golden brown but not burned. (This will take a while.)
- Add parsley, thyme, stock and wine. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add cognac.
- Preheat broiler.
- Ladle soup into oven-safe serving bowls. Top each bowl with a slice of toasted baguette. Generously grate Gruyère cheese over the top of each baguette.
- Place bowls under broiler until the cheese melts and forms a golden crust. Serve.