Well it’s been a while hasn’t it? Moving house is hellish, that is all I have to say on the subject!
I’ve managed to get a lot of new things cooked over the past 6 weeks but just not had the opportunity to take pictures and write about it. There have been some really good dishes though so I’ll probably redo a couple of them in the coming weeks.
This week I’m trying out a couple of soups and the first is French Onion. I got this recipe from Delia Online and you can find the original here.
For the soup
- 700g onions, thinly sliced (I used the food processor here)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50g butter
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1.2 litres beef stock
- 275ml dry white wine
- Salt and pepper
For the croutons
- Baguette, cut into 2cm or 3cm slices
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Grated cheese (Delia uses Gruyère, I used the Cheddar I had in the fridge)
Method of Preparation:
First make the croutons:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Drizzle the olive oil on to a large, solid baking-sheet, add the crushed garlic and then, using your hands, spread the oil and garlic all over the baking sheet.
- Now place the bread slices on top of the oil, then turn over each one so that both sides have been lightly coated with the oil.
- Bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes till crispy and crunchy
Now for the soup:
- Place a saucepan on a high heat and melt the oil and butter together.
- When this is very hot, add the onions, garlic and sugar, and keep turning them from time to time until the edges of the onions have turned dark – this will take about 6 minutes.
- Then reduce the heat to its lowest setting and leave the onions to carry on cooking very slowly for about 30 minutes, by which time the base of the pan will be covered with a rich, nut brown, caramelised film.
- After that, pour in the stock and white wine, season, then stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the base of the pan well.
- As soon as it all comes up to simmering point, turn down the heat to its lowest setting, then go away and leave it to cook very gently, without a lid, for about 1 hour. All this can be done in advance but, when you’re ready to serve the soup, bring it back up to simmering point, taste to check for seasoning – and if it’s extra-cold outside, add a couple of tablespoons of Cognac!
- Warm the tureen or soup bowls in a low oven and pre-heat the grill to its highest setting. Then ladle in the hot soup and top with the croutons, allowing them to float on the top of the soup.
- Now sprinkle the grated cheese thickly over the croutons and place the whole lot under the grill until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
- Serve immediately – and don’t forget to warn your guests that everything is very hot!
It might sound a bit long winded but it’s really simple as long as you’ve got the couple of you need to keep checking on it. Delia says this serves 6 and I’d agree as a starter but it’s more like 4 decent sized servings. I cooked this two days ago and I’m just about to have the last bit for lunch. I made some croutons for the day it was cooked and then made some more last night which I’m also about to finish off for lunch. It’s great to have something like this in the pot for a couple of days.
Overall, this dish is a winner! I’ve always liked French Onion soup and this is a great recipe for it. I didn’t use particularly fine ingredients for mine, for example I used a very cheap white wine, stock cubes for the stock and Cheddar cheese as oppose to the Gruyère that Delia suggests. This meant that I cooked the whole dish for about £6. The good stuff would probably double this price so even if you want to go all out it’s still going to work out at £2 to £3 per serving.
If you’re looking for something ‘a bit different’ but with the same great flavours check out when I tested Francis Lam’s French Onion Soup Sandwich, mmmmmmmm….