Friday 20 February 2009

French Onion Soup

The best thing about French Onion Soup is undoubtedly the cheesy crouton in it. Is there anything better than hot melty cheese? But even if it is just a vehicle for eating cheese, you really have to make sure that the soup the croutons adorn is worthy. And the only way to do that is the long way - the onions have to be properly caramelised, and this is not a time when you can cheat and speed the process with a spoonful of sugar.

French Onion Soup (as a main meal for 2)
1tsp butter
1tbs olive oil
4 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I use your basic brown onion, I think red onions add something weird and white onions are somehow acrid)
Sprig of thyme
Splash of booze (I used whisky because it was there, brandy or white wine would be better)
beef broth (I used a can of beef consomme and a can of water)
Salt & pepper to season
Good bread (I used a large square pain rustique roll)
Cheese (I used camembert and gruyere)

Melt the butter and oil together in a large, heavy based saucepan on a very low heat, and before it reaches sizzling point, add the onions. Turn them over in the fat until they are well coated, add the bay leaf and the thyme and clap the lid on, returning to stir them well every 5 minutes for at least half an hour, more like 45 minutes. The onions need to have completely collapsed and cooked to a deep brown without being burnt. A shortcut at this point leaves you with a very indigestible soup.

When the onions are ready, add a splash of booze to deglaze the pan, then add the beef broth. Simmer for another half hour.

Put cheese on bread and grill it - I used a slice of camembert for richness topped with a slice of gruyere for the perfect melt and bubble, but just gruyere is more traditional.

Taste the soup, season with salt & pepper if necessary, divide between two deep bowls and top with ferociously hot cheesy toasts. Enjoy the warmth spreading right to your toes. And even if it is mid-week, it would be rude not to have a glass of wine with this.


HH said...

Looks great FC. There is such a fine line between French Onion Soup that is delicious and French Onion soup that gives you killer indegestion. Yours looks delicious!

NKP said...

Yes, this does look comforting and delicious. I am suddenly craving French Onion Soup!

kat said...

This is a favorite of Matt's & I've never ever made it at home

Heather said...

mmmm. i love french onion soup!

Esi said...

I am making something similar this weekend, but with red onions..I know! :)

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Foodycat, thank you, thank you, thank you. I tried making onion soup for my husband and it came out a mess. Don't know what I did wrong, but it was not edible. I'm going to try it again. You are such a life saver. I hope all is going well.

Alicia Foodycat said...

HH - isn't there just? A bad one is so bad!

Natashya - everytime I have it I am reminded that I just love it.

Kat - you should! Paul will always have it as a starter if he sees it on a menu, too.

Heather - you have good taste.

Esi - I look forward to reading how it goes for you.

Teresa - all is very well! I hope your next batch works for you.

SSS said...

I could do that. In fact I think I must. It looks delicious!!

hungryandfrozen said...

Oh my gosh I love onion soup. It's amazing in the middle of winter...onions are so cheap but this always seems pretty luxurious. And you're right, the cheesy toast on top is pretty lush...

Sam said...

French onion is one of my favourite soups, but you're right it's the croƻton that makes it.

Alicia Foodycat said...

SSS - you certainly could do it! It's quite a good one because you can eat it over a couple of days and just do fresh toasts as required.

Laura - it is pretty economical, so you can splurge on the cheese.

Sam - you'll have to tell me how you got the accent on the u!

Leslie said...

French onion...mmmmmm.I need to make it for sometime!


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