French Onion Soup.

IMG_1711Onion soup

These are real onions.

Before anyone thinks about making this soup I would like to stress that the main ingredients are onions. Without them I cannot see how a genuine French onion soup can be made. Going around the shops I have noticed that increasingly foods are being substituted by artificial ingredients. Manufacturers are  following demands, often by the newly-wedded, for instant foods that preferably can be put into squeezable tubes, not unlike toothpaste. Cheeses, some vegetables such as carrots, cauliflowers and herbs are now available in tubes that can be squeezed onto plates making for instant meals. I have yet to see onions in tubes but no doubt scientifically bent manufacturers are feverously working on that.

The secret apart from using real onions is in the stock and the art of caramelizing the sliced real onions. I peeled and sliced 6 brown onions and in a heavy red coloured cast iron French pot slowly cooked them with about 60 gram of unsalted butter for about 40 minutes, till the onions got that golden brown colour. I then added sliced garlic and thyme. (not from a tube!) My first attempt then by adding a Campbell 1 litre of beef stock and cooking it slowly for another hour was a bad mistake. It tasted too salty.

After almost two hours of stirring, cooking and not having Annette to console me, this disappointment was not easy to bear but I reared up and got an inspiration which you readers might remember if you too are making a faulty French onion soup. I took a colander and drained the salty liquide into the garden thereby saving the cooked onions.  No doubt the salvia will benefit from this added real fertilizer. I then rushed over to the Farmers Market in Bowral through storms, flooded roads and severe tempest and bought a Maggie Beer beef stock. Maggie Beer is an Australian food Ikon well known for her stocks and brilliant recipes. I added this new stock to the caramelized onions and added some bay leaves and this time it was perfect.

of flooded plains

Of flooded plains

Of course on hindsight, it would have been better to make own stock by slow cooking a piece of cow with herbs and spices. Anyway, I put the French onion soup in the fridge together with a dozen rock oysters and a bottle of French champagne and now feverishly hope for the weather to turn sunny and thus enabling my darling Annette come and drive here, to sidle up next to me sampling the soup with gruyere cheese on toasted French bread, sip champagne while sliding the oysters down. And then some more!

It will be heaven on earth!






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24 Responses to “French Onion Soup.”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    I adore French onion soup! And I had to learn that lesson about too-salty broth, myself. I still use a commercial product, but instead of Swanson’s broth, I use their unsalted beef stock. It’s more concentrated, and works beautifully. If it’s available there, it might be worth giving it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      A Dutch friend of mine uses a vegetable stock to make her onion soup. I use a beef stock but I suppose any hearty stock would complement the onion soup.
      Home made stock is what I will use next time. Reducing any soup or food does increase salt is what I have learnt.


  2. leggypeggy Says:

    Glad you could rescue it—sort of.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    ‘Twill be heaven on earth, indeed!!! 😉 🙂
    I’m so glad those are real onions! I’d hate to think you are cooking with fake onions! 😉 HA! 😛 Sorry, I just HAD to tease about that! 😀 YAY for rescuing the souip!
    OOOH! I love onions and onion anything and everything! My son and DIL always make yummy French Onion Soup for us! 🙂
    Hope the weather improves, things are safe again, and Annette can visit soon! 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂
    PS…I wonder if the Potato Trick would work for too salty French Onion Soup?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Who is DIL? What also is ‘the potato trick’? I suppose a potato in the onion soup would be fine.
      The weather has improved but Annette is now not coming till Saturday.
      It meant I had to eat the dozen oysters by myself last night (on my own). It wasn’t the same and lacked the romantic part.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        DIL equals Daughter-in-law! 🙂

        Some people say if you put a RAW potato in too salty soup the potato absorbs some of the salt and you take the potato OUT after so many minutes. You can find the details online.
        Not sure if it works for French Onion soup.
        Aw, well I’m glad she will be there on Saturday. 🙂
        Yes, it’s hard to be romantic alone with just a bunch of oysters! 😉 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        One learns all the time. It just never stops, does it?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. catterel Says:

    I love real French onion soup, too – very nostalgic! I’m sure Annette will be most appreciative of the lovely meal you have waiting for her. But I’m wondering about your onions, and the significance of the specs? Symbolic of – what? Or simply mislaid?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The soup is in the deep-freeze, so it hasn’t passed the crucial taste test as yet, apart from the spoonful I had after I cooked it. I thought it very passable.

      As for the photo; I had sliced up most of the onions apart from those four sad looking ones in the photo, so I added a red onion and the string of bush garlic grown by a friend.

      The specs was an effort to imbue the shot with some intellectual ambience. The few small onions did not show much of what I was trying to capture.


  5. Robert Parker Says:

    I wondered about the specs, too. If it was potatoes, I’d understand.
    And I also love onion soup, really loaded with onions.
    Whenever someone talks about caramelizing onions, I always smile, because it reminds me:
    I saw a 3-man troupe called the Reduced Shakespeare Company, which performs all of the Bard’s plays in 97 minutes flat. When they get close to the finish line, they’re swopping wigs and yelling out scrambled lines, To be or not be by the pricking of my thumbs! etc. and I distinctly heard “If music be the food of love…Caramelize the Onions!!!” or something like that.
    Sounds like quite a heavenly champagne date you’re lining up!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The champagne date is still simmering but now delayed till next Saturday. The fresh oysters would be simmering too by next Saturday so I ate them somewhat glumly last night. I barely had the will to slice a bit of lemon, nor the strength to squeeze the juice over them.
      Eating oysters by yourself is a very sad exercise in unrequited something or other. I should just have chucked them out and barbequed a stout German sausage instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Julia Lund Says:

    I haven’t made or eaten French onion soup for years … The best I ever tastes was on honeymoon in Paris many, many moons ago. But I have made it aine, and it never failed to be delicious. I think I shall put it on the weekend menu. Thanks for the idea …

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I’ve been reading about your floods, Gerard. They look seriously dangerous. Seems like you should stock up on stock so you can avoid going out. Here’s hoping the weather improves so your sweetie can sample your masterpiece. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  8. auntyuta Says:

    I am sure, Gerard, absence makes the heart grow fonder! 🙂


  9. rangewriter Says:

    Carrots, cauliflower from a tube? Say it ain’t so! Such a step backwards. But your French Onion Soup sounds like a solid step forward! Enjoy the soup and the fixin’s. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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