There are few things more comforting than making a real French Onion Soup – slowly cooked, caramelised onions that turn mellow and sweet in a vegetable stock. The whole thing is finished off with crunchy baked croutons of crusty bread topped with melted, toasted cheese. This soup is hearty and filling enough for a light supper.
Serves: 4-6 people
3 bay leaves
10 to 12 leaves of parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
2 cloves or 3 garlic (whole)
6 cups thinly sliced onions
3 ounces of butter
1 tbsp of all purpose flour (Maida)
6 cups water or vegetable stock
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp soy sauce
4 slices to 6 slices French bread -- toasted
For the Garnish:
Sliced scallions or minced parsely
1. Make a bouquet of spices by placing bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, and garlic in the center of a 12" square of cheesecloth, and tying the cloth's ends together. Set aside.
2. In a heavy pot, saute onions in oil over medium-low heat. Add salt to prevent sticking, and stir frequently. Cover pot with a lid, but leave it slightly ajar. Onions should saute for 30 minutes to 1 hour.They will reduce to about a third of their original volume and become sweet and golden. Then add flour and fry till the raw smell of flour is gone.
3. Add water or stock, soy sauce, along with the bouquet garni. Simmer at least 30 minutes. Remove bouquet of spices.
4. Season soup with extra salt,pepper, soy sauce, if desired. Place in bowls and top with French bread. Lay slices of cheese to cover the entire opening of the bowl. Bake at 350 degrees F or 5 minutes under a hot broiler. Garnish with sliced scallions or minced parsely. Serve hot.
Notes: The secret to onion soup is letting the onions caramelize slowly. If this step is rushed, not only could the onions burn, but your soup will lack depth of flavor. Once the soup is finished, divide into 4 soup bowls and top with French bread cubes then cheese. Broil just until cheese has melted and browns slightly. Make sure to put the bread cubes in first (and not omit it if using cheese) because the cheese will sink to the bottom of the bowl.