Monday, November 1, 2010

French Onion Soup (I know it's nearly summer, but....)

Sometimes soup is just appealing. And sometimes things get put off for ages so that by the time you get around to them they're not really seasonally appropriate anymore. I have a pretty much endless list of recipes to try, thanks to a ton of blogs I read (which are all so great I want to make pretty much everything I see), subscribing to a couple of food magazines and then getting recommendations and of course cravings... So really we've been meaning tomake French onion soup for most of winter, and now we're getting towards the end of spring. Oopsy! It's okay, though, because it was still delicious.

I was surprised how easy it was; in my mind it's a dish that sits in the domain of fancy French restaurants, but as ever Donna Hay provided a simple and reasonably quick recipe.

The lengthiest part is cooking the onions - you want to get them nice and soft, but not burn them, so medium heat and with so many in the pot it does take a while. The longer you take to cook them the better the flavour of the soup will be - ours took about 20 minutes and it was pretty good, but a proper French chef would probably be appalled at anything under an hour. ;-)

We made the full recipe and it gave us two generous dinners and then some - I'd say serves 6, or 8 if you have a bit more bread/serve it as a starter, so feel free to scale the recipe down if you don't need that much.

Once the onions are soft and buttery and delicious add some stock and white wine and leave it for a bit - that's pretty much it. So easy! It's so warming and delicious it really seems like it should take much more effort than it does.

Traditionally you pop the soup under a grill with the croutons and cheese on top of it, but we wanted to eat as soon as we could, so cooked our croutons while finishing off the soup. Because the broth is quite thin you want crusty bread for the croutons so it doesn't get too soggy too quickly - we had a day-old baguette (marked down, woohoo!) but it was better the second day - so maybe go for the two-day-old baguette. ;-)

Do you always stick to the right seasons for your meals or do you throw caution to the wind and have salad in winter and soup and stew in the summer?

French Onion Soup (serves 6-8, from Donna Hay magazine)
30g butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1kg brown onions (about 6)
1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup / 125ml white wine
1 litre beef stock
2 cups/500ml water
1 baguette, sliced and toasted
1/4 cup / 25g grated mozzarella
1/4 cup / 20g grated pecorino

Place the butter, oil, onion and thyme in a large saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the onion is soft and caramelised. Add the wine, stock and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon the soup into bowls and top with the baguette slices and cheese. Place under a pre-heated hot grill for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.



  1. Onion soup is pretty great anytime I'd say (I am in freezing cold Austria though so I suppose I would say that) your looks beautiful, always better with the cheesey croutons in it.

  2. Thanks Eva!

    Sasa, yes, the croutons are essential! Thanks for your kind comment. :-)

  3. Fantastic. I am in the midst of a Frnech Food Fortnight on my Foodblog and this will be a great addition for me to try! Can't wait to peruse the rest of your site.

  4. I'm sure it will be a great addition to your French fortnight, Mel - it's a great recipe! :-) Hope you enjoy it.


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