Cravings are weird, right?
Majority of my friends are travelling, or will be travelling in the coming weeks, so to curb my fuming jealously I’ve turned to thoughts of some past adventures yonder seas. In 2008/2009 I hung out in Europe for a couple of months as most 20 year olds do; a few memories of a brief stint in Paris include being rained on tremendously, being kicked out of a souveigner store when I asked the owner for directions, trying to hit on a cab driver with a little help from the ‘romance’ section of my French translation app, seeing many, many boobies at the Moulin Rouge, and, as terribly cliché as it may sound, enjoying a really fantastic French onion soup, or rather, soupe a l’oignon, in a little café.
Since that fleeting thought I hadn’t the will-power to force it out of my mind. MUST HAVE FRENCH ONION SOUP! In a huge coincidence my prayers were answered at dinner at El Circo a couple of weeks ago; an amazing blended soup with a dash of port graced our degustation menu. Mind blowing stuff. And since then it seemed anytime I turned on the TV this soup has been everywhere. Food Safari. MasterChef masterclass. Some other show I can’t remember. The pressure was building up behind my tastebuds; It was time to prepare a soupe a l’oignon of my own.
I began trawling through old photos after making this, and check it out, I found a photo of that soup I ordered in that little Parisian café almost four years ago! Mind you I wasn’t much of a photographer back then with my little Canon snapshot (other photos in this album include me posing idiotically before landmarks, flipping off the Mona Lisa and getting craycray in da club). Hahaha… ahh. Gross.
This recipe is rather rich (beef stock + alcohol + cheese!) and will serve 2 for main or 4 for a little entree. I’ve thrown everything into this one, large pot for all to share at the dinner table but serving them up individually is great for dinner parties too.
Soupe a l’Oignon
(an original recipe)
600g onion (around 4 medium-large), finely sliced
250ml beef stock
2 sprigs thyme
60g gruyère, grated
2 slices bread
1. In a large, heavy-based saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and stir until softened. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for around an hour or until beginning to caramelise and brown.
2. Add flour to the onions and stir to cook for a few minutes. Add the stock, water and thyme and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, adding salt to taste.
3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place your bread under a grill to toast lightly.
4. Once the soup is ready add the port then carefully ladle into an oven-proof bowl. Add a third of the cheese, then the toasted bread, then top with the remainder of the cheese. Place in the oven for around 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and is deliciously blistered. Serve immediately.