One of my favourite soups (although admittedly, I have a few!), a good onion soup is incredibly comforting with its sweet and cheese rich flavour. Sadly, this is one of those dishes that I only make occasionally as I am the only one who appreciates it in our family!
My version of the onion soup is incredibly onion-y – well, it is an onion soup after all! You won’t have any trouble finding the onions in my soup, I’m tellin’ ya!
The secret to a good onion soup is the long initial cooking process of the onions – an hour – to get that rich brown caramel colour full of sweet promise! This is the only intensive part of the process, as you have to keep stirring the onions every few minutes to stop them from burning; of course the trick is to have the heat on its lowest possible setting.
The recipe here gives you enough for 4 if you intend to serve it as starters; however, if it’s a cold and wet day, this makes the perfect lunch for 2!
Perfect French Onion Soup
Onions in French Onion Soup
I am very happy using standard, large white Spanish onions; as the onions are cooked slowly, the caramelisation process agrees very well with these onions. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend red onions, as once cooked, I find that their flavour all but disappears.
I have a post and a video tutorial on how to caramelise onions, complete with technical information! Click here to go there.
I love using just butter in this as it enriches the final flavour but feel free to use butter and olive oil if you prefer.
Skip if you prefer and replace with the equivalent amount of stock. I prefer to use a medium cider but dry will do just as well, not sweet though as the onions are sweet enough. And a trick from good old Delia – a dash of Brandy at the end is marvellous!
As I’m a huge fan of cheddar, I have to have a little of it here, along with the Gruyère, but that’s a matter of preference. And I also use lots and lots of cheese, adjust to your taste.Print
Learn the secrets to a good homemade French Onion Soup, incredibly comforting with its sweet and cheese rich flavour.
- 100g (3.5oz) butter (or 50g butter, 50ml olive oil)
- 4 large onions (precut weight 1kg), , halved, then sliced thinly
- 1 Tbsp plain flour
- 250ml (1 cup) medium or dry cider
- 750ml (3 cups) beef stock, homemade or good quality shop bought
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- dash of brandy (optional)
- 8 baguette slices
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper
- 200g (7oz) Gruyère
- 100g (3.5oz) Cheddar
- Heat the butter in a heavy base saucepan over low heat and add the onions, stirring well.
- Add 1 quarter tsp salt and some freshly ground black pepper and stir again. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and cook the onions for 45 – 60 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until you get a dark caramel colour or the colour you prefer the onions to be. Dark is definitely better but not burnt!
- Add the flour and mix it well into the onions for about a minute.
- Next goes half the cider, to loosen the roux you’ve just made with the flour, scraping the bottom well.
- Add the rest of the cider, the stock and the balsamic vinegar, stir and let it come to boil, then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the cheesy croutons. Rub the slice of garlic on both sides of your baguette slices and toast/grill them on both sides under the grill (broiler) until crispy. Set aside until needed.
- Check seasoning, turn the heat off, add the splash of brandy now, if using.
- Ladle the onion soup into individual bowls, place two croutons into each bowl, on the soup.
- Sprinkle both cheeses liberally over the croutons and soup and place the bowls under a hot grill until the cheese is beautifully melted and bubbling.
- Top with some freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately, but be warned, the bowls will be über hot!
- Category: Starter
- Cuisine: French