French Onion Soup

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January 12, 2010 by ronfluff

By ‘eck, it’s certainly been cold recently. Apparently, it’s been cold in France too. Undoubtedly they will have been eating plenty of French Onion soup to keep themselves warm, so I thought I’d join them, and on a particularly cold day, with plenty of onions at the ready, it was FOS-a-go-go!

The recipe is pretty easy and really tasty, finished of under the grill with a big chunk of rustic bread and some nice strong cheese. What’s more, any leftovers, if not being eaten as soup, can be re-heated and reduced right down to form a deliciously sweet and sour onion marmalade to accompany a steak, a burger, cold meats and more.

French Onion Soup

Serves 3-4

You’ll need

  • 5-6 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 regular onions or 4 banana shallots or 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • A couple of large knobs of butter
  • Plenty of balsamic vinegar
  • Around 2 liters of hot beef stock (made with a stock cube will do, especially a good quality organic one)
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Crusty french bread (or any other nationality of crusty bread)
  • A couple of handfuls of strong cheese such as mature cheddar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Worcester sauce (or better still, Henderson’s Relish from Sheffield)

Do it!

  1. In a heavy based saucepan or large frying pan, melt a good sized knob of butter in a splash of olive oil.
  2. Add the sliced onions, season and fry gently for around 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from catching. Give this plenty of time to bring out the sweetness of the onions. If your pan has a lid, you can cover them for around 2/3 of the initial cooking. By the end they should be a golden brown colour.
  3. If you were using a frying pan,when you are satisfied that they have had enough time, transfer the onions to a large saucepan.
  4. Next add a good amount of balsamic vinegar – about 4 to 5 tablespoons, or enough to almost cover the onions. Turn up the heat immediately and boil until the vinegar has just about disappeared.
  5. Add the stock, adjusting the quantity of the liquid depending on your preference of onion to liquid. Add a pinch of dried sage, cover and simmer, like you would any soup, for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the grill.
  6. Do a final seasoning check on the soup and ladle it into heatproof bowls.
  7. Rip up your crusty bread, float a nice big bit in each bowl and sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Add a final flourish with a dash of Henderson’s (or Worcester sauce, if you must!) and place under the grill until the cheese is melted and turning brown (although mine didn’t!)
  9. Enjoy a tasty winter warmer, courtesy of our friends across the Channel,

Up next…meat-a-balls!

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