Louis – Exchange to Catholic University of Lyon, France
Semester 2, 2016
Traditional French foods rely on simple combinations that enhance the rich, natural flavors of French ingredients. Adhering to this simple combination has been my all time favorite meal found in France, which is…
Soupe a L’oignon! (Onion Soup)
This is a gooey, rich-flavored soup with a thick golden crust on top—the most delicious part of the dish! Meat broth is generously flavored with onions, grated cheese and crusty croutons. The soup’s origins can be traced as far back as the Romans – typically a poor dish – although the current version dates from the 18th century. The remarkable taste in French onion soup is from the caramelisation of the onions, to which sometimes brandy or sherry is added at the end of the slow-cook process. The liquid is typically meat stock, although variations include using just water, adding milk or thickening it with eggs or flour. Overall, a very yummy experience!!! Probably indulging myself in this meal at least twice a week…
2 tbsp flour
1.75 litres beef stock
1 glass of white wine
Baguette to toast
Gruyère or Emmenthal
Peel and thinly slice 700g onions, then leave them to soften in 40g butter and a small glug of olive oil over a low to medium heat. Stir them regularly. They are ready when they are soft, sticky, sweet and deep gold in colour. Some add a pinch of sugar at this point to help the onions caramelise. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of flour, cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in 1.75 litres of boiling beef stock and a glass of white wine. Partially cover with a lid and leave to simmer for a good 45 minutes.
Season, ladle into deep, heatproof bowls, place several thin slices of toasted baguette on to each, then cover with thinly sliced Gruyère or Emmenthal. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes or grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted but not browned.
The trick to getting this soup right is that the onions caramelise – they must cook for at least 35-40 minutes over a low to moderate heat. Only when the onions are soft enough to crush easily between finger and thumb can you add the flour and stock.