French onion soup
We really enjoy a bowl of French onion soup and that is what I made for lunch today. The photo above was, as they say on TV programmes, “one I made earlier”, in January of this year actually, but it always looks much the same. So here is how it’s made and it couldn’t be easier. You don’t need to measure the quantities and there are only four main ingredients (apart from seasoning – salt & pepper): onions, stock (I make the stock from beef Oxo cubes, but you could use Bovril) a baguette, and gruyere cheese (you can use cheddar but gruyere is better.)
French Onion Soup
Ingredients (this makes sufficient for four people, or two meals for a couple):
A tablespoon of olive or rape seed oil (I use rape seed, which reputedly is healthier)
Three large onions (or six smaller onions)
Beef stock (I use 4 beef Oxo cubes to roughly one and a half pints of boiling water, and if I feel there isn’t sufficient seasoning with this, I add one veggie stock cube, too.)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 medium sized baguette
Using a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil.
Chop the onions (some recipes say slice but I find that long slivers of onion in soup are not the easiest things to eat) and add them to the oil.
Give this mixture a good stir and then pop on the lid and with the heat on its lowest setting, sweat down the onions for 15 minutes. I use the kitchen timer to make sure I don’t walk away and forget them! Then check to see they are not burning, stir them, and give them another 15 minutes, check again, and then another 15 minutes, a total of 45 minutes cooking time. By which time they should be soft and buttery (see below).
Now add the stock, sufficient to cover the onions. You can always add more stock but you don’t want the onion pieces swimming in a lot of stock; this soup should be quite thick with onions.
Bring the soup to the boil, adjust the seasoning – add salt & pepper as desired – and then turn down the heat and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. By now the soup has been cooking in total for about 1 hour.
While it is simmering, slice the baguette at an angle and toast lightly on both sides. When both sides have been done, add slices of gruyere to one side and return to grill the cheese until melted.
As soon as the croutons (i.e. the toasted baguette with the melted cheese on top) are ready, serve the soup into warm bowls and place the croutons on the soup. I put out a fork with this soup as well as a soup spoon so you have something with which to anchor the crouton while you cut through it with your spoon. Now all you have to do is enjoy the soup.
For pudding (as we say in Devon, regardless of whether it’s a hot or cold dessert, but it is never referred to as “afters”, that is too, too declasse, ha ha!) I made a very quick fresh fruit salad using melon, blueberries, grapes, pear and banana, and slivers of stem ginger. I would not have added banana – which tends to go mushy quickly – but I had a banana that was a little soft and it needed eating. Not only did we have some of this fruit salad for lunch with a little low fat cream, but we will finish it with our supper this evening.
Until next time.