Thursday 22 November 2012

Traditional French Onion Soup

From Ruhlman’s Twenty, Michael Ruhlman, Chronicle Books, 2011.

When I read the introduction Ruhlman made to this soup I had to make it to try it out. He went into a long explanation of how the French onion soups that people make are not the true one, that stocks should not be used as they make a different soup from the one which uses only water. He had searched out the true peasant source of the soup in France and this recipe was close to it.

Firstly I peeled and sliced thinly 5 Spanish onions. I know this type of onion as the red ones though later checking on Google it seems that there is considerable doubt as to whether the Spanish ones are the red or the brown. Anyway, I know them as red and this is what I used. If I make the recipe again I think I might use brown.

The onions were put into a saucepan with a little butter and a teaspoon of salt. The lid went on and on a medium heat they were cooked until steaming began. The temperature was now turned down to low and the lid removed. The onions cooked for about three hours until they had caramelised. Three cups of water were added and it was brought to the boil. It was now turned down again to low and a little sherry was added. It was tasted and a little pepper was added but it seemed salty enough. The soup was quite sweet so I added a little red wine vinegar.

Slices of bread from a baguette were put in the oven on a very low temperature until they had become quite hard. The soup was dished into bowls, the bread placed on top and then grated Emmenthaler cheese on top of that. It went under the grill until the cheese had melted. It was now ready.

The soup was really full of flavour. It still had a slight sweetness that was totally pleasant with the savoury cheese. The dried out bread had soaked up oodles of the soup juices while the crusts remained crunchy. A very satisfying dish.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔  It’s not a difficult dish to make but takes time and attention.

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