As the temperatures drop in Perth everyone seems keen to stay inside, rugged up with some delicious comfort food. We’re no different, and after picking up a beautiful blue cast iron dish I was inspired to try my hand at French Onion Soup, and in honour of Bastille Day felt it was a great time to share it!
Soupe à l’oignon (French onion soup) has many different tales of how it originated, but all agree it comes from France. Likely it has been around for thousands of years as a staple for the poor, with its very simple base of onions, butter & stock. History says that King Louis XV returned from hunting one day to find only onions, butter & Champagne in his cupboards, so threw it all in a pot and made a delicious meal. The now traditional version is topped with grilled cheese (usually Gruyère or Comté) on day old baguette, and is apparently a fantastic hangover cure!
I enjoyed making this dish as its so simple & relaxing, the hardest part is slicing the onions (next time I will probably use the food processor). There is something magical about the onions slowly caramelising, and it was lucky there was any left for the soup! I didn’t follow King Louis XV in using Champagne in the recipe, but instead used some of the red wine I was enjoying. Pour yourself a glass of red wine, and enjoy while watching the magic of the onions caramelise.
French Onion Soup
I based my recipe on this one from Gourmet Traveller
- 1kg Brown Onions, sliced
- 100g Butter
- 1/2 cup Wine (I used Shiraz)
- 4 cups Beef Stock (I make my own, but use high quality, salt reduced, store brought if you prefer)
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Thyme (optional)
- Baguette (day old is preferable)
- Gruyère (or similar), grated
Add butter and sliced onions to a large pot or dish over med-low heat. Stir regularly for approx 45mins until onions have softened and caramelised. They will smell beautiful, go a medium brown colour, and taste sweet. Don’t let them burn!
Add half a cup of beef stock and turn up the heat. Stir until almost fully evaporated. Add wine, again stir until almost fully evaporated (similar to when making risotto). Add remaining beef stock & bring to the boil. Add parsley & thyme, stir in and bring down to a simmer. Remove parsley and thyme after 5-10mins (you can leave it in if you like, but I preferred a subtle herb flavour). Cover soup & simmer for approx 30mins.
Just before serving, slice baguette, not too thickly, and grill in the oven until light golden brown. Flip over, add grated cheese and grill until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with hot cheese toasts. Top up your glass of wine, and enjoy!
We paired this soup with a bottle of 2016 Cote du Rhone. The herbal notes in the wine matched the subtle herbs in the soup, and soft tannins. A Syrah or Pinot Noir would pair equally as well, something not to overpower the delicate yet flavourful soup.