Once known as the “Soup of Peasants” is now an important part of French cuisine, though this soup is of ancient origin, it only got popularized in the 1960s in the US. Traditional French onion soup is a clear soup and in the old days it was made with grated cheese, old scraps of bread, salt, pepper, water, vinegar or wine and the most important ingredient onions, which was plentiful and always available. Later on the water was replaced with beef stock or broth making the soup rich and heavy. The main secret of this soup is slow cooked caramelized onion, which can take up to 8 to 10 hours to prepare and aged Gruyère cheese which gives the soup its rich bubbling crust.
Whatever may be the history behind it, this soup is no doubt a delicacy of French cuisine which deserves to be praised for its sheer satiating taste. Here is a simple yet delicious recipe of the soup, let’s make ourselves some French Onion Soup.
- Cuisine: French
- Course: Starter or Appetizer
- Preparation Time: 20 Minutes
- Caramelizing: Onion 10 hours
- Cooking Time: 60 Minutes
- Total Time: 80 Minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
|Finely Sliced Red Large Onions – 1.5 Kg.||Olive Oil – 2 Tablespoon|
|Balsamic Vinegar – 100 ml.||Thyme – 2 Sprigs.|
|Sherry or Brandy – 1/3 Cup.||Grated Gruyère Cheese (any other can also be used) – 200 Grams.|
|Freshly Ground Pepper – 1 Teaspoon.||Kosher Salt – as per requirement.|
|Unsalted Butter – 4 Tablespoon.||Sugar – 1 Tablespoon|
|Beef Stock – 1.5 Litre.||French bread (Baguette) – 4 to 6 Slice (well toasted)|
- Blanch the sliced onion in boiling water for five minutes to remove their pungent flavour of onion.
- Take a large pot, put it over flame add the butter and melt it.
- Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and fry until golden brown, make sure the flame is not high as it might burn the onions. This can take up to an hour.
- Once the water is released from the onion then add the sugar to enhance the caramelization of the onions, add the stock, sherry, and thyme, reduce the flame to low and simmer for 8 to 10 hour with constant stirring.
- Toast the bread slice for at least 2 minutes on each side before putting on the soup.
- Before serving, preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius, pour the soup in the soup bowl, top it with the bread slice, sprinkle the grated cheese over the bread and bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes. The cheese should be enough to cover the bread and form a crust.
- Remove the soup from the oven and serve hot, can be garnished with chopped parsley.
- Slice the onion very thin, so that the water is released fast because until the water of onion dries, it will never brown evenly.
- Add little sugar to the onion when cooking, it will speed up the caramelization process.
- Add little salt to the onion to speed up the process of water release.
- When the onion reaches above the boiling temperature of water, then only proper browning and the caramelization of onion can be done.