4 September 2013

French Onion Soup

I love soup. There is nothing quite like a hot bowl of nourishing soup with a home made bread roll to make you feel that all is right with the world, it's the best comfort food I know .... apart from mashed potatoes with butter that is :-). I usually make soup with whatever I have in the house at the time but when I went to the market on Saturday and saw these monsters I couldn't resist buying one to make some French Onion Soup. And a bargain at 50p :-)

This was originally a Nigel Slater recipe but I tweaked it to give it a little more flavour and although I have given amounts for onions and things in the recipe, I have to confess that I rarely use measurements in soups (or cooking in general for that matter!). I usually just use however much feels right.

The secret to getting the most flavour into this soup is to make sure that you use butter to cook the onions and make sure they caramelise. Cook them really slowly for at least 35-40 minutes over a low heat and only when the onions are soft and squishy enough to crush easily between your finger and thumb should you add the flour and stock.

I don't usually bother with all the faffing with the heatproof bowl and the slice of bread in the soup thing either, I just make some cheese on toast with the Gruyère or Emmenthal, cut it into croutons and pop them into the soup. 

French Onion Soup.

Serves 4-6

700g onions
40g butter
2 tbsp flour
1.75 litres beef stock
1 small glass red wine
A splash of balsamic vinegar
A teaspoon of french mustard
Baguette to toast
Gruyère or Emmenthal

Peel and thinly slice 700g onions, then leave them to soften in 40g butter and a small glug of olive oil over a low to medium heat. Stir them regularly. They are ready when they are soft, sticky, sweet and deep gold in colour. Some add a pinch of sugar at this point to help the onions caramelise. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of flour, cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in 1.75 litres of boiling beef stock, a glass of red wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar . Partially cover with a lid and leave to simmer for a good 45 minutes.

Before serving, stir through a teaspoon of French mustard to give a lovely extra depth of flavour, although if you don't like mustard, you don't have to add it. 

Season, ladle into deep, heatproof bowls, place several thin slices of toasted baguette on to each, then cover with thinly sliced Gruyère or Emmenthal. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes or grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted but not browned.

I couldn't take a photo of my lovely bowl of soup because my camera battery was flat and I was really really hungry and couldn't wait to eat my soup. It was delicious :-)