French onion soup

French onion soup

By
From
Margaret Fulton Favourites
Serves
6
Photographer
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

There was a time when no stay in Paris was complete without an early morning visit to Les Halles, the markets where the produce of France was scrutinised and bargained for before being carted off to the great restaurants of the city. It was at Les Halles that French onion soup, or soupe à l’oignon, was created. It was served in the many small bistros nearby to sustain the workmen who toiled at the markets through the wee small hours and the truck drivers who drove halfway across France with the produce. Les Halles is now a shopping centre and the huge professional market has been moved to Rungis in the eastern suburbs of Paris.

When I was living with my sister Jean on the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales we would often turn the soup into a more substantial meal in cold weather by cooking it in gratinée form, which to many is the real French onion soup.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
45g butter
1 tablespoon light olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plain flour
7 cups Beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
rounds of baguette, cut into 2.5 cm slices, for serving

Method

  1. Melt the butter with the oil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onions and cook them very gently until softened and golden, stirring occasionally. Do not allow them to brown. Sprinkle with salt and stir in the flour. When blended, cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the stock. Add the wine and season with pepper. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 30–40 minutes, skimming the surface of the soup occasionally.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C. While the soup is cooking, bake the bread slices on a baking sheet until crisp and lightly coloured. If desired, remove bread after 10 minutes, brush with a little olive oil and return to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes. You can also rub each slice lightly with a cut clove of garlic after baking. Serve with the soup.
Tags:
Margaret
Fulton
Favourites
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