Onion Soup


When I was a student at University I worked part-time in a café.  Each day I would make a big pot of soup for our customers.  I suggested one day that I wanted to make onion soup.  It was a cold and grey day, and for me, there is nothing better than a nice warm bowl of onion soup with cheesy bread on top.  I was told not to.  Apparently, they had tried a few times to make onion soup and it never sold.  Its one of those life mysteries that I have never been able to understand – “How could they not like Onion Soup?”.

This is one of my personal favourites.  Make it on a cold, miserable day, and I promise it will make you feel better.

There are two secrets to a good onion soup; 1) a good stock (naturally), and 2) sweat those onions!  Make sure the lid is on, make sure they are on a low heat, and let the sweetness of the onions come out.  It takes time, but it is worth it.

French Onion Soup Recipe

  • 1Kg of onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 100ml vermouth / white wine (optional)
  • 2tbsp cognac (optional)
  • 2 litres of beef, vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper
  • Slices of baguette
  • Gruyere cheese, grated

Gently sauté the onions with the sage, olive oil and butter over a low heat and with a lid on.  The longer you cook them at this stage, the tastier the soup will be.  I would recommend at least 30 minutes, I managed it for about an hour, on a really low heat and they came out just divine.  The onions should be translucent and cooked, but not coloured.

Add the sugar, raise the heat, and colour the onions.  The onions should start to go a light beige then light brown in colour.  You will need to stir quite often at this stage, to make sure the onions don’t colour too much and that they don’t start sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the wine, if using, and boil until reduced, again occasionally stirring. 

Add the stock, bring to the boil, and leave on a low heat for 30 minutes.  If you want to add that extra kick, add the cognac.

Toast the slices of baguette on both sides.

Ladle the onion soup into bowls.  Place the baguette on top of the soup so that one side gets thoroughly dunked.   Cover the baguette slice with grated gruyere cheese and place under the grill until the cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!


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