Soubise (sü-ˈbēz)

SoubiseDuxellesbfLOA quick search on da Google gives us this definition of soubise: a garnish or white sauce containing onions or onion purée.

I think I’ll stick with the definition from my trusty old (1961 – first English translation) Larousse Gastronomique, which defines it as a “purée of onions and rice used as an accompaniment to various cuts of meat, large and small” – since that is clearly what Julia Child meant when she made this dish as a part of her take on Veal Prince Orloff on her TeeVee show Julia Child & Company in the late 70’s.

It was snowing like heck outside, and Rich was working from home – the TeeVee on The Cooking Channel in the background. Julia came on; tossing rice, onions, ‘shrooms, parsley, turkey, and more (!) in what looked to be a tasty, tasty dinner for 19 or so. I went scrambling to my MacBook to find the recipe, and was not having generally good results when I had a moment.


Didn’t mom and dad give me THAT. EXACT. COOKBOOK. for Christmas my junior year at UMASS? Ermmm, just let’s all NOT ask exactly WHAT year that was, OK?

BAZINGA! (as Sheldon might say) – they did; and I am here to tell the tale.

Julia’s Turkey Orloff is easily adaptable to today; she made good use of her food processor – planning well so it would only have to be washed out once after four separate steps, and everything fussy was well and truly done and stashed in the fridge well in advance of having guests at the door.

In that spirit, I am splitting my post for Chicken Orloff in three. You can make the entire recipe from start to finish in well under five hours or so – I tucked my preparations in between making dough for, and baking my version of Sugar Cookie Madeleines – tho’ I should admit I started out with leftover Basmati rice from an earlier dinner, but I thought it’d be less overwhelming by splitting the steps up.

Starting from scratch:

•1/4 cup white rice
•5 or 6 medium onions
•1-1/2 stick butter
•1 egg, beaten

Cook rice per package or (better) rice cooker directions and drain.

SoubiseBakedbfLOPeel and chop onion, then pulse in the food processor, using the metal blade, four or five times. Don’t worry about washing out the processor bowl.

Heat oven to 325º. Melt 4 tbsp of  the butter in a baking dish and stir in the onions, cooked rice and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix well, cover and bake for about an hour, stirring every twenty minutes, until the rice is tender and the onion fragrant.

Remove from the oven, beat in the egg while the rice is still warm, taste and correct the seasoning, if needed.

NEXT: ‘Shroom Duxelles

Ermmmm – if you plan on spacing the entire recipe out over a day or three, you will, of course, want to be cleaning your food processor bits and pieces in between steps.

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