French Onion Soup with Parmesan hard-toasted bread – a delicious and sophisticated soup with lots of flavor.The coziest soup to warm you up.There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup in the colder months of the year. Julia Child’s French Onion soup is an elegant start to any meal and its silky texture and rich flavor will have your guests ready for a hearty main course. Traditionally, French onion soup is served with toasted slices of baguette and a crust of hard, melted cheese. This is made in the oven once the soup has been scooped into separate bowls. A layer of Gruyere, Parmesan or Swiss cheese is grated over the sliced bread on the soup and it is left on the middle shelf of the oven to harden. Gruyere is rumored to be the best choice of cheese because of its texture and sharp flavor in contrast to the sweet flavor of the caramelized onions. We like to add a few chunks of cheese into the soup for little pockets of creamy flavor while your guests are eating.
It is not surprising that most of the flavor in French onion soup comes from the onions themselves. So, it is essential to be patient during the initial cooking process. It may take up to 25 minutes to cook the diced onions to a see-through state over a low heat. Of course, this happens while they are submerged in a generous helping of butter. To avoid the fat from spitting, mix in a bit of olive or coconut oil. Next, the heat is turned up and the onions are cooked to a beautiful golden brown shade. It is during this step that the salt and sugar are both added to the onions. We prefer brown sugar as it caramelizes very nicely. Be very careful not to cook the onions for too long (you will notice them turning a very dark brown) as they will begin to taste bitter. It is possible to caramelize onions in the oven as well as over the stove.
While Julia’s recipe uses cognac, you can choose between red wine, white wine or sherry depending on your preference or what is readily available. Beef or chicken stock are equally delicious in an onion soup. A homemade stock will always create a more authentic and full flavor than the store-bought variations. You can also choose between a few different onions for your soup. A sweet onion such as Walla Walla or Vidalia will make for the mildest tasting French onion soup, while shallots create a more complex flavor, but can tend towards bitter taste. A yellow onion, also known as a brown onion, is the most commonly used in soups because of its availability and sweetness. Red onions have a darker flavor that is more crisp than sweet. You may choose to use a mixture of different onions to get a complex taste.
The best herbs to add to your soup are thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and sage. You can layer the soup and bread in the individual pots for a fuller meal. It is easy to tell when the bowls of soup are ready to be served as the cheese will turn a beautiful golden brown color. This soup can stand alone as a starter or a light main course. It takes a bit of effort, but we promise, it’s worth it!
FRENCH ONION SOUP RECIPE
- Sliced white onions- 6 cups
- Unsalted butter- 3-4 tbsp
- All purpose flour- 3 tbsp
- Chicken broth/water- 9 cups
- Dry white wine- ½cup ( optional)
- Salt-To Taste( I added 1 tbsp)
- White pepper- 1 tbsp
- Grated Parmesan cheese- 1½ - 2 cups
- Dry Thyme- 1 tbsp
- Bay leaves- 3
- Baguette- 1
- Peel and slice onions. Take a large saucepan and melt 3 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil. Cook onions slowly in the covered saucepan for about 30 minutes on slow heat.
- Increase the heat to moderate, add salt to taste( you can add chicken cube), and cook for another 20 minutes until onions become golden brown.
- Add 3 tbsp of flour and continue stirring 3-4 minutes.
- Pour broth and wine into saucepan. Allow the soup simmer for 30 minutes( covered). Add seasoning to taste.
- Pour soup into soup cups, top with hard-toasted french baguette slices and grated Parmesan cheese. Put soup cups in preheated to 200 C oven for 15 minutes.
You can brush bread slices with garlic olive oil.
Viola! French Onion Soup.