There’s nothing quite like it, it wraps you up from the inside out but at the same time remains quite clean and almost guilt free. Considering it’s basically boiled onions in beef stock, which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, it delivers on so many levels. There’s sweetness, depth and texture with every mouthful. There are so many different ways of making French onion soup/onion soup and after looking at several versions I was able to ascertain the most important ingredients are: onions, beef stock, alcohol and Gruyère. I went into soup making with full gusto.
I used five very different sized onions for two people’s worth of soup but when I make it again I think I’ll add a few more. It’s always a surprise how much the onions cook down. Slice the onions and add them to a pan with a little butter on a medium heat. All French onion soups I’ve ever had are devilishly dark and the onions are well and truly brown. Stir the onions occasionally until they go brown and caramelised.
When they are sufficiently brown, add a glass of your chosen tipple (mine was white wine) and then some beef stock. Mine came in a pot of 500ml so that’s what went in. Leave this to simmer on a low heat until reduced and then check the seasoning. I found it needed a fair bit of salt and pepper and the onions were so sweet I didn’t need to add any sugar.
While the soup cooks, make the extra large croutons. The reason mine were so gargantuan was that I could only get hold of a white bloomer as opposed to a baguette. Nonetheless it made excellent cheese on toast. Slice your bloomer/baguette/equivalent and toast on both sides. Grate some Gruyère, put on top of the toast and grill until the cheese melts.