Here is my recipe for another very popular French classic, soupe à l’oignon. The secret to making a good onion soup is to give the onions enough time to cook and almost caramelize in order for them to release their sugars and sweet flavor. I like to leave my onions to gently cook for at least 45 minutes. The addition of Armagnac adds a fine touch to the soup. It’s a great soup to serve during a chilly autumn day or a snowy winter afternoon, though I certainly wouldn’t turn it down in the middle of summer!
Soupe à l’oignon
- 30g butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500g onions, halved and thinly sliced
- small bunch of thyme
- ½ tsp raw cane sugar
- salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
- ¾ tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp Armagnac
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed
- 700ml beef or onion bouillon
- 4 slices of baguette
- ½ a clove of garlic
- 30g Gruyère, freshly-grated
Melt the butter together with the oil over a gentle heat. Add the onions, thyme, sugar and a little salt. Stir, place a lid on the pan and allow eveything to cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Stir in the flour and cook for three minutes. Add the Armagnac and follow with the garlic and the bouillon as soon as it evaporates. Place the lid back on the pan and leave the soup to cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add some pepper, taste and correct the seasoning.
To make the croutons: Put the pieces of baguette under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn! Take them out of the oven, rub with garlic and brush with oil while they are still hot. Flip them over, place under the grill again and do the same on the other side. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pour the soup into two oven-proof bowls, place the bowls on an oven tray and top each portion with two slices of baguette, a bit of grated cheese and a sprig of thyme. Put the oven tray with the bowls in the oven and allow the soup to cook for another ten minutes.
Watch me make the soup here, and get the recipe in Dutch!