Food for the soul that everyone should be making this weekend.
Here is what you'll need:
Ingredients: serves 4
For the Soup
4 large Spanish brown onions, thinly sliced
3 large Red onions, thinly sliced
5 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper
8 cups beef stock (preferably homemade)
3 cups Swiss cheese, grated
8 slices French bread baguette (about 1 inch thick)
2/3 cup chopped chives
So let start with the onions, many people ask me what type of onion I use for this recipe and my answer is always never stick with just one type. I use a variety of onions so my soup has a depth of different onion flavours. So I have Red & Spanish onions with Shallots. I slice them thinly, then over a medium heat I add my butter. Now you’re thinking thats a lot of butter and it is, but I have a lot of onions and they need it trust me!
One the butter has melted add the slices of onions, it might look like a lot but again trust me, they will collapse down over the cooking process. Now theres no way of quickening the caramelisation process, it takes hours but its totally worth it. Just keep the heat to low, check in on them every once in a while and stir them gently. This will take an hour minimum, even longer if you can. Your after the right amount of caramelisation, which for me is a deep golden brown, any further than that and you loose the complexity of flavours from the onions as they turn from sweet to really bitter and you don’t want that.
Next I’m slowing adding in beef stock which I have heated up and is homemade as this really gives your soup that knockout punch. Add it in ladle by ladle, stirring in between so the onions soak up that stock. Next, add in the bouquet Garni which is a fancy French way of saying a bunch of herbs. In this case I have thyme, parsley and bay leaves tied with kitchen string.
Add to the pan and pour in the last of the beef stock. Mix well and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.
Just before the soup has finished, toast your baguettes and place them in the serving bowls. Then add your freshly grated cheese, traditionally greuyer cheese is used but you know I love Jarlsberg so thats what I use personally. Place the cheese in then ladle in the soup and repeat that layer again.
Place under the grill or broiler for just 1-2 minutes or until that cheese is bubbling and brown. To further enhance the depth of onion flavour I garnish with chopped chives which gives everything a freshness and then serve it immediately.
Yes it takes hours to make but the end result is so worth it and theres nothing better than curling up on the couch with a bowl of this, dimming the lights and chucking on some French bistro music pretending I’m in Paris. Thats just me, but you do you.