French Onion Soup (Soupe a l’Oignon)

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
50g butter
2tbs flour
250ml beef stock
500ml water
2 sprigs thyme
60ml port
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.

Bon appétit!

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  1. Tina @ bitemeshowme’s avatar

    I had my first real taste of onion soup in France as well and can I say it was amazing. I love the cruton on top with grilled cheese. In fact, it was my first meal in Paris! I can’t wait to try it….. to re live those amazing memories…


  2. yummychunklet’s avatar

    Yum! This looks so delicious, despite the hot weather in Chicago!


  3. Nic@diningwithastud’s avatar

    Im so gutted that I was less foodie years ago when I went to France. I would have been WAY more adventurous. Excuse for another trip I say ;) This looks great Alana! Perfect winter food. Def bookmarking!


  4. Winston’s avatar

    This is absolutely delicious I seriously can’t wait to try it, Alana. I’ve actually been thinking of cooking more French food at home the next few months, perfect timing =D Though, don’t judge me because I may or may not double the amount of cheese. I go weak for them and just simply cannot control myself!!


  5. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella’s avatar

    This is one of my favourite soups. It’s so deliciously warming. The only part that I dislike is chopping the onions, I love eating onions but not chopping them :P


  6. Hannah’s avatar

    Maybe this is a weird thing to say, but I LOVE onions, especially caramelized and stewed down into this classically rich, savory, complex soup. Despite the heat wave, I could seriously go for a bowlful now.


  7. Kitchen Belleicious’s avatar

    oh my goodness! That soup looks to die for. the ooey gooey cheese on the top, the rich onion flavor- just simply breathtaking


  8. Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef’s avatar

    I could happily eat this gorgeous soup 3 times a day. I just love it and your version looks devine!


  9. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen’s avatar

    Hmm. The Paris trip sounds worthwhile, thanks to the boo…. I mean soup. I am often advised that service in Paris is unfriendly. However, its stays a dream amongst the girls to be able to walk down a street with a paper bag of freshly made breads..


  10. Tania @ A Perfect Pantry’s avatar

    What a gorgeous soup, especially in winter time. I’m going to give this a go.


  11. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen’s avatar

    My life would not be complete without onions. This soup looks wonderful. Love that melty cheese.


  12. Vivian - vxdollface’s avatar

    I still haven’t tried french onion soup! I’ve always wondered why it was such a popular soup since it’s really just onions and stock. Looks very comforting though, might try this out at home :)


  13. Celia’s avatar

    French onion soup is the best soup in the world!! It’s so great especially in winter!! Thank you for posting!


  14. Simon’s avatar

    My wife makes the best french onion soup but it’s not as thick as it should be it’s a bit too runny! Any ideas?



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