Food. Travel. Recipes.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

French Onion (Oignon!) Soup

I made this a little before I went on holiday, we had absolutely no food in the house, well by my account we had no food. Actually, when I looked hard enough there were enough ingredients to concoct a simple soup recipe. I first tried this when my sister made it, and intially thought it would be quite difficult, however when I actually looked at the recipe and had a go at making it, I was surprised that for something so tasty and rich, it requires very few ingredients. It does require time though so that could be seen as the downside, however its rich, buttery substance and overall simplicity in terms of ingredients does outweigh the one and only negative.

I used Sophie Dahl's "Voluptuous Delights", which I have mentioned before and there are definitely a few other recipes I want to make from it. I have a made an aubergine parmigiana from this cookbook before, which was absolutely delicious!

Now she insists that this isn't typical French onion soup, because of it not including the pile of bread and cheese on top. So we are working more with an onion soup but to me, it still seems full of depth, like a lot of French cuisine has.


3 large yellow onions (I use less if just cooking for myself, maybe 2 small onions.)
1 tablespoon of butter
Slug of olive oil
2 litres of stock - she says you can use a mixture of chicken and vegetable. However beef is the traditional choice. Despite this, I used vegetable! (I use less, again if just cooking for myself, maybe around a litre. Depends how much you want for leftovers!)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (this can be an optional choice)
Salt and Pepper
100g grated cheese - anything melty and rich will do, Gruyère or Parmesan are the yummy choices she provides.

Preparation Method

Roughly chop the onions. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with a few glugs of olive oil on a low heat. Make sure it doesn't burn. Swish the buttery mixture around to ensure the bottom of the pan is covered.

Pour in the onions, mix them into the oil with a wooden spoon and sweat gently for about 40 minutes. Keep the saucepan lid mostly on and at a low simmering heat. Towards the end of the cooking, you can remove the saucepan lid and turn up the heat slightly, you want the onions to brown and caramelize.

When the onions look golden and brown, pour in the stock mixture. Turn the heat down low. Then, she adds the magic ingredient, as I would call it. Balsamic Vinegar. She is completely right in saying that it adds a sweet earthiness.

Let it simmer for another 15 minutes and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Decant into bowls and generously grate cheese over the top.

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