We’ve all heard, tasted and marveled at the classic French onion soup, or Soupe à l’Oignon. The warm and filling body of a perfectly cooked French onion soup isn’t only able please a growling stomach, but it can even satisfy a longing soul (well, at least my Paris-obsessed one).
The soup itself dates back hundreds of years. Because of the high abundance of onions in the past, it actually began as a common meal for the poor. Only in the 18th century did France adopt the classic and popular onion soup recipe that is known around the world today. Traditionally, the soup consists of caramelized onions, beef bouillon and fresh baguette slices topped with melted cheese, typically gruyère.
French Onion Soup (Soupe À L’oignon)
Adapted from Simply Recipes
3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups homemade chicken bouillon
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon dry thyme
1.5 tablespoons salt
pepper, to taste
1 fresh baguette
1 ounce gruyère
1 ounce gorgonzola
Oh, nothing can compare to the fresh crunch and inviting aroma of a warm baguette…
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add the onions and caramelize on medium heat for 40 minutes. Add the sugar 10 minutes into the process. Add the minced garlic during the last minute of cooking.
2. Transfer the caramelized onions into a saucepan. Add the chicken bouillon, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Heat the saucepan on maximum heat, until the soup begins to boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to low and leave covered for 35 minutes.
3. Heat the oven to 350°. Cut a baguette into eight 1/2 inch-thin slices, place them onto a pan and cook for 5 minutes. Once they have toasted, top with the gruyère and gorgonzola cheese and let them cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the cheese begins to slightly bubble.
4. Ladle the French onion soup into individual bowls, top each one with two baguette slices and serve.
Yields about four 1.5-cup servings.
I can only imagine cooking this up in a tiny Parisian apartment on a cold and rainy winter afternoon, letting the fragrance of sweet wine and onions fill the apartment as I cozy up in a comfortable armchair and watch the raindrops race down the window. Hearing only the rain pattering down on the roof and the honking of cars in the distance…