Shorter days: this is one of the things I dislike most about Winter. I really don’t like that it’s already dark when I leave work. It looks like the day is over and there’s nothing else to do but to go to sleep. Not like Summer when you still feel like doing lots before locking yourself at home! The only thing that can sheer me up is…. you guessed it: cooking 🙂 Ok, ok, nothing new here, cooking sheers me up all year around. But during Winter I start cooking more complex dishes and I guess it gives me more satisfaction. It’s dark and cold outside and to be around the kitchen where is nice and warm makes be feel really happy 🙂
Besides the shorter days, we can’t really say that Winter has started here yet. Yes, the days are a bit chilly but nothing compared to what a real Winter is. If it wasn’t for the cooler wind we could almost think it’s Spring. Despite the mild weather, it’s still Winter time, Christmas is approaching and I start to feel like having soups, stews and roasts 🙂 And during one of the cooler days we had so far I decided to go all French and make onion soup. But not just any onion soup: my French onion soup. I haven’t gone that far from the original but I don’t really like the bread and cheese grilled inside the soup bowl. So I skipped that step, instead I had home made cheese bread on the side (recipe to follow). I also added a bit of parsley for flavour and colour. The recipe calls for yellow onions but I used a mixture of red and yellow onions, I think it makes it sweeter. The recipe I’m posting here is the original one from Julia Child which I used as my guide and then I made the above changes. It came good, you have to try it!
My French onion soup
- 1 kg yellow onions sliced (I used a mixture of yello and red onions)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp flour
- 6 cups of beef stock homemade if possible
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp sage I used dried
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 300 g Swiss cheese grated (I used shavings of Parmesan cheese)
- 100 g Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 raw yellow onion
- 2-3 tbsp cognac I used whisky
- 4 slices of French bread I used cheese bread
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Place a heavy bottom oven proof pot over medium-low heat
- Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter.
- Add the sliced onions and stir until they are evenly coated with the olive oil.
- Cover and cook for about 20 min until they are very tender and translucent.
- To brown or caramelize the onions - turn the heat to medium high. Add the sugar and 2 tsp salt and continue to cook uncovered, stirring frequently until the onions have browned and reduced significantly.
- Once caramelized, reduce heat to low and add the flour to the onions.
- Brown the flour for about 2-3 min trying not to scorch it. (If the flour does not form a thick paste, you can add a bit more butter)
- Stir in about 1 cup of warm stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up all of the cooked-on bits.
- Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage and bay leaf to the soup. Simmer for 30 min.
This is the step I missed:
- To make the "croutes" (toasted bread), heat the oven to 150C.
- Drizzle each side of the bread slices with a bit of olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
- Cook the croutes for 15 min in the oven on each side (30 min in total)
And I'm back on:
- Check the soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed
- Remove the bay leaf
- Add the 2-3 tbsp of cognac (I used whisky) and grate 1/2 raw onion into the soup.
- Add a few grams of Swiss cheese directly into the soup and stir (I used Parmesan cheese)
I missed this step again:
- Place the toasted bread in a single layer on top of the soup.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese in a thick layer on top of the bread making sure to cover the edges of the toast to prevent burning.
- Drizzle with a little oil or melted butter
- Place in the oven at 150C for about 30 min.
- Turn on the broiler and brown the cheese well
- In my case, I divided the soup into serving bowls. Then I placed a few shavings of Parmesan cheese in each bowl and sprinkled a bit of chopped parsley on top.
- I served it with warm homemade cheese bread