The classic French soup
This is one of my favourite dishes – perfect for these chilly winter evenings. I was without a proper kitchen when I last made this, so I got to work in the Kitchen in the Lounge. I had the chopping board perched on a chest of drawers and a single induction hob for the cooking. It was a real treat, even though I had no means of toasting the baguette or melting the cheese, so it’s pretty versatile.
The Kitchen in the Lounge
I got quite used to this simpler way of cooking and there’s a lot you can make with just the single hob, a chopping board, a decent knife. I did get a mini fridge too and that was small but useful. Just to be clear, I am very much looking forward to the arrival of the new kitchen, but it has been fun trying out some one pot dishes – handy for next time I go camping!
Know your onions
This is a wonderful way of using up some leftover onions but it’s so good that it’s definitely worth going out and buying lots of onions especially. I usually use brown onions, but I have made this soup with a mixture of brown, red and shallots in an emergency.
French Onion Soup
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- large saucepan
- 1.3kg onions
- 50g butter
- 1.8 litres beef, chicken or vegetable stock
- 2-3 sprigs thyme, optional
- Salt and pepper
- 4 slices baguette
- 75g Gruyere
- Peel and thinly slice the onions.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
- Add the onions over a low heat for about 40-60 minutes, with the lid off.
- Stir often - you want the onions to become dark and caramelised, but you don't want to burn them.
- Add the stock and thyme, if you're using some. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, toast the baguette slices and grate the cheese. Turn on your grill to medium.
- When you are ready to serve, check the seasoning is how you want it, remove the thyme sprigs and ladle the soup into bowls (deep ones if possible)
- Put a piece of toasted baguette on top of each bowl, sprinkle over some grated Gruyere and place under the grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melting.
- Serve - bearing in mind that your bowls will be very hot! And don't forget the rest of the baguette - delicious dipped into your soup.