January 11, 2012

French onion soup

When I cook, I am rarely thinking about only the ingredients in front of me. Rather, I contemplate who might have made this recipe before me and where its origins lie. Onion soup, like most soups, is peasant food born in the countryside; the food of the poor. Onions have always been inexpensive and easy to grow. This soup is the epitome of simple, country food that could have been easily prepared on a hob in front of a fire. As I slice and stir, I think about all of the women before me who have filled their modest homes with the aroma of sauteing onions, and fed their smiling families bowls full of tasty homemade goodness.

This is what good food is.

  • 5 cups of thinly sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 42 ounces of beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • pinch of pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 8 ounces grated comte or gruyere cheese
  • 6 slices of french bread, sliced on the diagonal

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat; add the garlic and sliced onions and saute until they are transparent and tender.
  2. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the onions; continue sauteing until the onions caramelise (turn a deep golden colour), which may take up to 30 minutes. Having a thick, caramely bit of sludge form in spots on the bottom of the pan is desirable. When it happens, scrape it off and stir it into the onions, then let it form again. Repeat a few times.
  3. After the onions caramelise, add the brandy to deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then gently simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Place the soup in serving size oven-safe bowls. Top each with a slice of bread, then cover the bread with the grated cheese
  6. Place the bowls under the broiler for approximately 3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and begins to turn golden in spots.
  7. Serve while cheese is hot and bubbly.

This soup has a strong enough flavour to stand up to a nice beer. I enjoyed it with a South Shore Brewery Nut Brown Ale. It was perfect...and I imagine a few hundred years ago, it was likely the beverage consumed along side this meal.

Nom nom nom!



For the Love of... said...

Hubby will love this- must try soon! nom nom nom indeed.

Sarah-Louise said...

mmm looks good... gonna try that one day! :)

Ben Lustig said...

I LOVE French Onion soup... my wife's mother makes an excellent one, but I will have to pass this recipe along and give it a try!

Little Miss Gourmet said...

I absolutely love your blog and your photos are always fabulous too - I am experimenting with getting great quality food photos but don't think I'm quite up to your standard!

Please feel free to check out my food blog if you get the chance - I would love to know what you think! :)


Evi K. said...

I'm cooking just for one tomorrow and you've just given me a great idea for my "lonely" lunch! :) And I think I might pair this with a Guiness... ;)

Karen said...

I love to make soups and will definitely try this one day. I just discovered your blog and will definitely visit again. Cheers!

Tammy said...

I love French onion soup and it reminds me of my dear late husband who adored it. It's nice to have the comfort of the soup and the memory...

Wisdom Seeker said...

Looks delicious! I've committed to 'home cooking' this year so I'm on the look-out for good recipes. This one seems to fit the bill. : ) Can't wait to give it a try! Thanks for sharing ~

Nathalie said...

Thank you! LOVE this soup!!!

K.O. Myers said...

Beef broth. French onion soup is another thing I miss dearly. *sigh*

Carlos Rubio said...

Love onion soup, always one of my top Sunday morning routine.

Yuslihan Faijar said...

I like these kinds of soup so much! I have to try this one :)
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