Though there are, in fact, different onion soups (Iranian eshkeneh, for instance, or Tuscan carabaccia), none has fairly captured the worldwide creativeness just like the “French” selection, stated to have originated within the markets of Paris, the place the wealthy, savoury broth fuelled early merchants and late-night revellers alike. The accompanying mountain of molten cheese is non-obligatory, however strongly advisable.
Prep 15 min
Prepare dinner 2 hr 45 min
Serves four as a starter, 2 as a meal
80g butter, plus 2 tbsp further for the toasts
three sprigs thyme
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml medium cider
600ml good-quality inventory, ideally beef
1 garlic clove
100g gruyère or emmental
1 sprint calvados or different brandy
1 Put together the onions
Begin by peeling and slicing the onions as thinly as potential; if in case you have one, a mandoline will make this job immeasurably simpler and faster. Be aware that, although pink Roscoff onions are the perfect right here, abnormal yellow ones are nice; although I discover white ones lack chunk and purple ones a bit too candy, they, too, will work effectively sufficient.
2 Brown the onions
Soften the butter in a big, heavy-based frying pan on a medium-low warmth. Add the onions, season, stir to coat with the fats, then flip down the warmth and depart them to prepare dinner, stirring repeatedly, till a really deep, golden brown color – you’ll be able to flip up the warmth a bit of as soon as they’ve softened, however be very cautious they don’t burn.
three Hold browning the onions
Be warned that it’s going to take not less than an hour, and probably extra like two, to brown the onions sufficiently; don’t be tempted to hurry it, otherwise you’ll find yourself with bland or bitter soup, relying on whether or not you under- or overcook them. In case you can’t stir them repeatedly, you might desire to place them in an 180C (160Cfan)/350F/fuel four oven for 3 hours as an alternative.
four Add the herbs and flour
Decide the leaves from the thyme and add to the pan with the flour (substitute cornflour if it’s essential hold the soup gluten-free).
Stir till effectively distributed, prepare dinner for an additional two minutes, then add the vinegar and a bit of of the cider, and scrape the underside of the pan to dislodge any bits caught to the bottom.
5 Add the cider and inventory
Pour within the remaining cider, stirring as you accomplish that, then add the inventory. Beef inventory is conventional right here, and my very own choice, as a result of I discover it has a depth of savoury flavour that different shares battle to match, and works significantly effectively with the sweetness of onions. Use good hen or vegetable inventory, if you happen to desire, and even water with a hefty spoonful of Marmite or miso paste to present it some oomph.
6 Simmer for an hour
Flip up the warmth and produce the contents of the pan as much as a simmer, then cut back it barely and depart the soup to bubble away gently for about an hour, stirring often to forestall the onions sticking. In the direction of the top of the cooking time, if you happen to’re planning to eat the soup instantly, begin making ready the croutons.
7 Make the croutons
Reduce eight skinny slices from the baguette and soften a few tablespoons of butter in a small pan (or within the microwave).
Warmth the grill and put the bread slices on a baking tray. Reduce the garlic cloves in half and run the reduce facet over the bread, then brush the bread with melted butter. Grill till golden, then flip over to toast the opposite facet. Take away the bread, and depart the grill on.
eight Now for the cheese
Grate the cheese; the nutty flavour of gruyère is my favorite right here, however emmental, cheddar or something with good melting capabilities will work.
Add the brandy to the soup, and verify and alter the seasoning, if needed. Ladle into ovenproof bowls and high every with two croutons and a mound of cheese. Grill till the cheese is molten and effervescent, and serve without delay.
9 Ending touches
In case you get to step eight and discover your soup lacks a sure one thing, even after you’ve adjusted the seasoning (which may occur in case your onions or inventory are poor within the flavour division), attempt stirring in an umami-rich ingredient comparable to Marmite, Bovril, miso paste or fish sauce, then style and add extra as needed, till it hits the spot.