French Language Blog

Chez Maïté Posted by on Sep 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

When I was living in France for the second time in 2003 there was a Big Brother type show on television (Nice People) which I avidly watched and one of the guest housemates was a French cook named Maïté.  Since I wasn’t eating there, I obviously fell in love with her personality as she’s bubbly, fun, quick-witted and she loves to cook and really gets you into it too.  It was the only time I can think of where I ran out to a bookstore to specifically buy a cookbook.  And I still have her cookbook La cuisine de Maïté.  It’s a favorite of mine as it’s quite easy to follow and makes French cuisine seem so simple.  You’ll be producing excellent four-course meals in no time!  She has two other great books as well – Les desserts de Maïté and Les soupes de Maïté.  She has a cooking show on French television called A table avec Maïté and has appeared on TV, in the movies, in films, on radio and just about everywhere. Read about her in French in Wikipedia. She’s quite a character!

Here’s her French Onion Soup recipe:

5 large onions
3 tablespoons of oil
1 knob of butter (basically a walnut-size clump of butter)
1 garlic clove
1 bouquet garni (a bundle of herbs)
1 glass of white wine
9 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 glass of Porto
2 cups of Gruyère cheese
5 slices of hard bread

1) Wash and finely slice the onions.
2) Place on a pot over medium heat and put in the oil and butter.
3) Throw in the onions and stir constantly as they brown.
4) Deglaze the onions with the white wine and the Porto.  Add some salt and pepper.
5) Gradually add the hot vegetable broth.
6) Add the garlic and the bouquet garni and let boil for 15 minutes.
7)  Cut the slices of bread into four pieces each to make the croutons.
8) Brown them a bit in a little oil over low heat.  Add more oil if necessary as you brown them so they don’t burn.
9) Place the croutons, then the cheese, the soup, then croutons and cheese again in individual au gratin bowls.
10) Place the bowls under the grill for 5 minutes and serve.

Here is an interview with Maïté en Le Journal des Femmes.

And you can read the menu and get recipes from her restaurant at

Bon appétit!

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  1. Ariel:

    If you are not a acohol drinker, what would you suggest you could deglaze the onions with? I am just curious.

    I absolutely love this article though. Good thoughts. =)

  2. Chanda:

    Hi Ariel, Thanks for your comment. I’m not really sure what else you could use to deglaze the onions, but if you’re worried about alcohol content in your food: the alcohol evaporates as it cooks, so it won’t have any effect on you when you eat the soup (especially since you boil it and the alcohol is added at the very beginning of the recipe). À plus!

  3. Ariel:

    Oops, i completely forgot about the evaporation of the alcohol. silly me. 🙂 oh well, i love that idea that French Food can be made easy!! Thanks for the recipe! 😀