Mexican Onion Soup a la Cocina California
The influence of the French in Mexico
The leader of the Mexican independence movement of 1810 was the priest of the town of Dolores, Miguel Hidago y Costilla. The basis of his libertarian principles can be found in the principles of equality, fraternity and liberty engendered by the French Revolution.
From 1862 – 1867 there was a French intervention in Mexico. The arrival of Maximilian of Hapsburg in Mexico, called Emperor of Mexico by the conservatives, imported the European social etiquette that Mexico’s conservative high society adopted.
Porfirio Diaz was the Mexican General instrumental in the 5th of May or Cinco de Mayo defeat of French troops near Puebla. During his dictatorship, the development of Mexico was modeled to imitate European styles, especially French ones. This applied to everyday customs as well as architectural styles. Along some avenues in Mexico City and Guadalajara, we can still admire the beauty of great mansions. Most of them clearly show the French influence, with fluted columns, fountains, avenues, sculptures in the great symmetrical gardens, stairways and staircases, lamps and marble floors.
So in keeping with Mexico’s admiration of French culture, Cocina California has created a Mexican Onion Soup recipe to extend the intellectual heritage derived from French influence.
Let’s get started.
2 medium chille poblanos roasted, de-stemmed, deseeded, sliced thin and cut ¾ inch long
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 bundle of herbs tied with string (bouquet garni)
2 sprigs cilantro
2 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
¼ cup flour
3 cups beef or chicken broth
½ cup dry sherry
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 slices baguette, ½ inch thick, cut on the diagonal
⅓ cup grated Oaxaca cheese (or Gruyere, Monterey Jack)
½ cup sour creme (optional)
In a heavy sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over moderate heat. Stir in the onions and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are a rich golden.
In a medium soup kettle melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes to create a roux. Slowly pour in the stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a simmer. Add the bouquet garni, bay leaf and sherry and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the onions and poblano into the stock and cook at low heat for another 15 minutes, partially covered. Remove the bay leaf and garni, taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.
While the soup simmers, prepare the bread slices. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Spread the slices in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. With a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of each slice with olive oil. Then turn the slices over and bake for another 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls, top with a slice of bread, and spread the grated cheese on top. Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the broiler, top with a dollop of sour cream and serve.
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