French Onion soup.

IMG_2917 french onion soup

This soup when using the right stock, is more of a way of life than a dish and yet there are people who have never partaken in this, nor shared it with neighbors or family. Yet, university studies have proven that those that came out of the recent lockdown most successfully were those that had regularly eaten French onion soup. Those that fared the worst were those on Mars bar, fizzy drinks and Big McDonalds entrails. It might be that in my enthusiasm for this dish I have before written about it, but so be it. I am happy to have shared in the return to normality from lockdown because of this soup.

Even though the main ingredients are 8 sliced yellow onions, the secret of the dish is mainly due to having the right stock, this can be either chicken or beef stock. Last time and well before Covid lockdowns when I made this dish I don’t mind admitting I ignored this advise of getting a good stock, and knocked together something from beef cubes. Mea culpa, it was a bad mistake and so salty that I had to dilute the soup with one liter of water and even than it was salty. People were polite and said it was ‘lovely’, but they drank a lot of water afterwards and there was also a steady stream to the bathroom with the associated noises of flushing toilets. I have three bathrooms with three toilets. Thank goodness for that. Anyway, that was my first onion soup. I did not dare mention the word ‘French’ then.

Yesterday I made yet another French onion soup and it was much better as this time I used a shop readymade beef stock. It is a good dish also because it takes at least 45 minutes to cook the onions, thinly sliced in some olive oil till soft after which you add two table spoons of butter and some garlic and bay leaves. The secret is to caramelize the onions which takes about one hour of constant stirring.  It does keep you on your feet. After one hour of stirring I added some dry white wine and a little sugar to aid the browning of the onions.

At that stage one can add about 8 cups of the beef stock which this time I used the commercial stock ready mixed. This then takes another hour or so of simmering. The finale is to dish it out and float on top of each soup dish French bread heated up in the oven topped with gruyere cheese.

I had some after I cooked it and while much better, I will hesitate to invite friends as it was still not as nice as anticipated and I did not want a repeat of toilet runs or thirst parched friends and visitors. My next move will be to make my own stock. You cook meat with leeks, carrots, onions and herbs and slow reduce it to about a liter of stock. I am so exited about the prospect of making my own stock.

This French onion soup is only as good as its stock.  


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18 Responses to “French Onion soup.”

  1. Dora Says:

    True Gerard, reminds me of mums Saturday afternoons chicken carcass stock time.
    Hours of the smell of chicken and celary and bay leaves, her soup was so lovely with the tiny little beef mince balls.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Sounds yummy! Let us know how it goes when you make your own stock.
    My oldest kiddo and his wife make us such delicious French Onion soup! 🙂
    We used to visit friends in a city that grew onions and had an Onion Dehydration Plant. The whole city smelled like onions! I loved it! AH! Such a wonderful smell! 🙂 The city was not call Oniontown…but we called it that! HA! 😀
    🧅 🧅 🧅
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I made my own stock yesterday which I started the day before. It takes about 2 kilos of beef bones and simmering for eight hours with vegetables and herbs. So, I simmered for 4 hours one evening and another 4 hours the next day. ( Yesterday)
      You can see that the soup made of bones and onions was very popular. It was cheap and nutritious.

      Today Annette is coming over and we will have the French Onion soup made from my own home made stock. Brioche bread and gruyere cheese on top.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. auntyuta Says:

    If you make it with beef stock, you can invite me any time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. shoreacres Says:

    I always use beef stock. We can purchase a low-sodium beef cooking stock (by Swanson) that’s ever so much better than just beef broth. The broth will do for a veggie soup or whatever, but you’re right that the stock is critical for this dish.

    I smiled at your mention of the bouillion cubes. When I lived in Liberia, Maggi cubes were ubiquitous. I just found this fascinating article about them — their composition, history, cultural meaning, etc. etc. It may not be so interesting to you, although I think it might be. What I know for sure is that when Curt cruises through again, he’ll be interested. After all, we were buying Maggi cubes in the same market, despite being in country at different times. Such fun!

    Except now I want French onion soup.

    Liked by 2 people

    • auntyuta Says:

      French Onion Soup is always made with beef stock. To use chicken stock is the English way.

      “French onion soup almost always calls for beef stock or broth while English onion soup can be made with either beef, chicken, or vegetable stock or broth. … Both versions usually incorporate woodsy herbs; thyme is common for French onion soup with sage being the choice for English.9 Aug 2020

      The Real Difference Between French Onion Soup And English … › the-real-difference-between-fr…

      Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You are right Linda, thyme is a ‘must’ herb for this soup. I worked for hours yesterday making my own stock as with commercial stocks it tends to be salty. I countered that by adding some mashed potatoes, which is a bit of a diversion. This soup is now in the deep freeze.

      Both Annette and my daughter Natasha are coming today to share my onion soup with home made beef stock.

      My fridge is now loaded with two lots of onion soups. Some of it is deep frozen. We might have it for Christmas.

      Yes, Maggi cubes featured very much in my mum’s cooking too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • auntyuta Says:

        Gerard please spare one lot of onion soup for the day when I can make it to your place! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        December 7, 2021 at 12:07 am
        Actually, Gerard, I just thought, my son Martin and I could perhaps stop over at your place on our way to Benalla, probably on the 25th or 26th. How about it? Would that suit you?
        Martin is going to bring his dog Millie along too!
        So, Merry Christmas! 🙂
        Love and HUGS, Uta 🙂

        I did put this message accidentally a bit further up!
        Maybe today you won’t look at the comments again anyway. Have a very nice day! Love, Uta 🙂


  5. rangewriter Says:

    You’ve inspired me! Last summer I mistakenly ordered a beef tendon, thinking I had ordered beef tenderloin from my farmer’s market. Imagine my surprise upon opening up my bag of groceries and finding an honest to goodness (I hope) tendon. I quickly shoved it in the freezer. Out of sight out of mind. But I think it’s time to haul it out and render it into a fine stock for onion soup. I’ve never yet managed to pull off properly carmelized onions. I get so impatient. Maybe I can do that while the tendon simmers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, stirring onions for at least 45 minutes is a bit of an effort and I combined it with sipping a slow but persistent Shiraz.
      Yes, mix in leek and carrots with thyme and your stock will be lovely.
      I am having it again this evening after taking a frozen container of the soup out of the deepfreeze this morning.

      Liked by 1 person

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