A Classic and Comforting Dish
Hello, food lovers! Today I’m going to show you how to make French onion soup, a classic and comforting dish that is perfect for cold weather. French onion soup is a soup of caramelized onions, beef or chicken stock, bread, and cheese, baked in the oven until bubbly and golden. It is rich, hearty, and delicious. French onion soup is one of the most famous dishes of French cuisine, and it has a long and interesting history. Let’s find out more about it and how to make it at home!
History of French Onion Soup
The origins of French onion soup are not very clear, but there are some legends and stories that suggest how it came to be. One of them says that King Louis XV invented the dish one night when he was hungry and only had onions, butter, and champagne in his hunting lodge. He cooked them together and created the first version of French onion soup. Another story says that the dish was created by a chef named François-Pierre de La Varenne, who worked for King Louis XIV in the 17th century. He added beef stock and bread to the onion soup and made it more refined. A third story says that the dish was popularized by King Stanislas Leszczynski, the father-in-law of King Louis XV, who learned the recipe from an innkeeper in Châlons-en-Champagne and brought it to Versailles.
Whatever the true origin of French onion soup is, it is undeniable that it is a dish that has been enjoyed by people from all walks of life for centuries. It was originally a peasant dish, as onions were cheap and abundant, but it also became a favorite of the aristocracy and the intellectuals. In fact, there was a dining club in Paris in the 19th century called the “Dîner de la soupe à l’oignon”, whose members were all aspiring writers and academics. French onion soup is also a dish that has traveled around the world and has been adapted to different cultures and tastes. For example, in America, Swiss cheese is often used instead of Comté or Gruyère cheese.
- For the soup:
- 6 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 8 cups of beef or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup of dry white wine or sherry (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- For the topping:
- 8 slices of crusty bread, toasted
- 2 cups of grated Comté or Gruyère cheese
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- To make the soup, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown, for about 45 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat to prevent them from burning. This step is very important, as it gives the soup its characteristic flavor and color.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. This will help thicken the soup and prevent lumps.
- Gradually add the stock and wine (if using), stirring well to combine. Add the bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F) and lightly grease a baking dish.
- To assemble the soup, ladle it into oven-safe bowls or ramekins. Top each bowl with a slice of bread and sprinkle with cheese. Place the bowls on the baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Enjoy your French onion soup hot with some extra bread on the side.
I hope you liked this recipe for French onion soup. It is one of my favorite dishes to make when I want something warm and cozy. If you try it, let me know how it turned out in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow my blog for more amazing recipes from around the world. See you next time!