A classic autumn and winter dish that is filling, delicious and a (little) bit lighter than the rest of comfy calorie-rich meals of the season.
The last leaves are dropping off the trees and the few remaining ones are bright and colorful. It is not yet winter here but cold enough for me to constantly dream of a nice blanket, a crackling fire in the chimney and a bowl of French onion soup.
Well here in France it is just called the onion soup. I actually googled it to understand why it is known as French in such a big part of the world. Apparently you need to really caramelize the onions for the soup to qualify as French onion soup. Well, it is true that the onions are normally thoroughly cooked through but to be honest, in France the color of the broth is not always dark brown and the onions are caramelized to the degree the chef feels like while cooking 😉
So the best thing about this soup is that it’s ridiculously easy to prepare and the result looks classy and cosy all at the same time. You can serve it at a dinner party, as a regular weekday dinner, as a quick lunch for one, at any occasion that calls for a comforting bowl of deliciousness.
You can make the onion soup ahead, so coming in from outside or back from a weekend trip or if you just don’t feel like spending time in the kitchen, you can quickly reheat it and you’ve got a lovely meal on the table in no time. I usually make a double batch and freeze half of it – having something that delicious in the freezer is always a good idea😊.
French onion soup recipe
- 1 kg (2 lb) yellow onions
- 2 (or more if you wish) cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 liter (4 cups) of vegetable or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- 8 slices of baguette (or sourdough bread)
- 200 grams (1.5 cups) of grated cheese (preferably Gruyère)
Peel the onions and the garlic cloves. Slice the onions in half-circles and chop roughly the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Cook the onions on medium-low heat until translucent and caramelized (about 10 min), add garlic and cook another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the stock, scrape well with a wooden spatula or spoon to get all the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook on low for about 20 minutes. Your soup is ready. When cooled you can store it in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
To serve, place a slice of bread at the bottom of an ovenproof bowl, cover it with grated cheese then add the hot soup. Place another slice of bread on top of the soup and cover everything with grated cheese￼. You can just omit the first slice at the bottom of the bowl but let’s be honest, the cheese and the soaked bread are the main attractions here.
Put the bowls in the oven under the grill and broil for about three to five minutes or until the tops are nice and golden.
Remove the bowls from the oven using oven mitts (!) and place them on the table on top of serving plates. To avoid clinking and damaging the plates I usually place a napkin between the plate and the bowl. When it’s just the Monsieur and me we just eat on heatproof cork mats😊
Warn everybody that the soup will be extremely hot and enjoy your meal!