French onion soup is a delicious a heartwarming dish that has been served in restaurants across France and in the kitchens of French cuisine lovers everywhere. It grew popular during the 18th century and is now a staple in many cafes and bistros all over the world.
Onion soups date back to Roman times but the modern day French Onion soup can be traced back a few centuries. While no one knows the origins of this famous soup, there are few possibilities floating around. According to legend, onion soup first surfaced in France around the 17th century and was said to have been invented by Louis XV. The story goes that after a long day of hunting at his lodge, Louis realized that all he had at the lodge were some onions, butter and champagne. Unworried, he cooked it all together and created the first French onion soup.
Today’s preparation method has been refined a bit and is a treat for the taste buds as much as the senses. It is often characterized by the cheese and croutons that cover the caramelized onions, which brings out the sweetness, a strong meaty broth.
Since the weather has cooled down, now is the perfect time to whip up this popular menu item right in your home.
Makes 4 servings. Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 1.5 hours. Difficulty: Easy
1 pound of onions, finely sliced
½ stick butter
2 cups beef stock
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
½ cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig each fresh thyme and marjoram
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 cup Cognac
French bread sliced
½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
1. Sauté onions and garlic in butter in an uncovered soup pot until onions are nicely browned.
2. Add thyme, marjoram, Cognac, white wine, beef and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce and simmer for 40 minutes until onion flavor is well developed.
4. Season to taste and add red wine.
5. Serve with French bread croutons and grated Gruyere cheese.
French onion soup has an illustrious history and today it is often served in some of the finest restaurants and with world class international cheeses. Next time you are in France, keep an eye out for “soupe à l’oignon” (onion soup) on the menu.