One of the first soups I ever made was French Onion. I hadn’t even been to France but it made me feel like I had and I felt very cosmopolitan.
French Onion soup is great if it’s made well. If it’s not and is made with gravy granules or comes from a packet then you have been short changed.
The real thing is rich, meaty in a mouth filling way and leaves you feeling warm, fuzzy and satisfied.
For cheese lovers, well this is the ultimate gooey, chin dripping finish and a perfect pairing with sweet onions.
Talking about onions, make sure you use large sweet onions. The natural sugar present in the onion comes out through the slow cooking process and caramelizes giving flavor and color.
The cooking process is the important thing here.
The slower you cook your onions, the sweeter they become so take your time over this bit. Slow and steady wins the race.
Be sure to stir the pan as the recipe states and if the bottom of the pan browns scrape it with your spoon/spatula and mix it in with the onions, as that’s the color we’re after.
Beer wise - I used Guinness but any dark beer will do. Just be sure adjust the sweetness level at the end (with a little extra sugar) as some beers can leave a bitter after-taste.
We’re looking for rich and smooth with a slightly sweet aftertaste.
Cheese wise – well ultimately it’s up to you but I used Gruyere as I love the taste.
Cheddar will work just as well. You can pop the bowls of soup under the grill for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese if you’d prefer it that way. I like it sprinkled cold.
Stock wise – Beef stock will give a lovely richness but vegetable stock for vegetarians works as well.
All-in-all take your time with this one.
Real French onion soup may seem like a simple thing but if you rush the process you won’t be doing the soup or your palate justice.