French Onion Soup

Posted on: April 3rd, 2011 by admin 2 Comments

It’s not often we get visitors from Aus, and rarely our best mates, but they did come last year and it was grand.  Sometimes it’s hard to be vegetarian in the world of French cuisine and this recipe proves that all the more!  Joh ordered French onion soup as the vegetarian option at a few French bistros, which she thoroughly enjoyed and asked us to find a recipe of equal tastiness.  Alas, on further inspection, and for those of you who know – French onion soup is hardly vegetarian.  It’s a rich beef broth with slow cooked onions.  However – here is the recipe and you can substitute veggie broth for the beef…

  • 8 c sliced onions (use a mix of mostly brown, white and a bit of red)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp worstershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 c dry white wine
  • 8 c beef broth (or veggie alternative)
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 French baguette
  • Gruyere cheese

Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the onions. Add sugar and a little salt to help the caramelisation process. Cook over medium to low heat until the onions start to caramelise – around 20 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and then pop in a couple of sprigs of thyme and cook together. Pour in the stock and cook for another few minutes. (Vegetarians, I’ve heard if you also add red wine instead of white – you’ll get a more ‘beef brothy’ taste!)

Ladle the soup into little ramekins or thick soup bowls and cover with a slice of bread. Top with gruyere, a pinch of pepper and chopped thyme and grill the top until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden.  Alternatively if you don’t have a grill (like us) place the toasts with cheese in the oven until the cheese melts and then pop the toasts ontop of the soup. Also if gruyere is hard for you to find, you can use swiss cheese with a bit of cheddar.

This recipe is highly adapted from Michael Smith’s French Onion Soup – A Recipe from Food Network Canada.

Song for this recipe:

“Place Des Abbesses” – Pierre Lapointe Place des Abbesses - Pierre Lapointe

The first time I heard of Pierre Lapointe was when he came into the salon I used to work at for a haircut.  I had no idea who he was, but everyone else was very excited.  I researched him when I got home – there’s a lot of good music here in Montreal – so I knew he might be alright.  And I wasn’t disappointed, sounding like a classic songster from old, his hipster style belied a lovely, thoughtful voice.

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2 Responses

  1. Joh S says:

    You are gold!!! Just in time for our cold nights, well balmy compared to your Montry cold nights but anyway…
    Can’t wait to make this. I’ve made a pretty good FO soup before from Donna Hay Seasons cbook before. (Not this one of hers: http://www.donnahay.com.au/recipes/mains/soups/french-onion-soup )
    The one I have in the book didnt have dijon in it and had pecorino and mozarella on top: rather than the quick sandwich option. Anyway I will give feedback soon. Love you guys.

  2. admin says:

    Pecorino and mozarella are are GREAT idea. I asked my new chef friend about traditional recipes and he says there are a few – but most important is the slow cooking of the onions. You can leave out mustard and such so long as your onions are perfect. Yum – who’s hungry?

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