An Ode to Onion Soup

23 Jul

There are few things I look forward to more than a delicious, steaming hot bowl of French onion soup.

For me, it evokes feelings of cosy bistros on cold days, and nothing beats that feeling of warmth spreading from the inside out. Good Parisian establishments serve the soup covered with a thick crust of delectable fromage gratinée.

For Amelie Poulain, it was cracking the top of crème brûlées that made her happy, for me, it’s breaking through that cheesy layer and lifting the first, rich mouthful of soup to my lips. One must do battle with the inevitable strings of the cheese that threaten to turn this into a rather messy affair – but that’s all part of the fun.

Often listed as an entrée, I struggle to find a place for a main meal and so tend to enjoy the soup accompanied only by a glass of Bordeaux.

In Melbourne it isn’t particularly difficult to find soupe à l’oignon, but it does come at a fairly substantial cost, with Malthouse Lane’s French Bistro asking $16.00 for its version.

For someone who enjoys this soup as much as I do, the only option was to learn how to make it myself. For this task, I turned to none other than my best-friend-in-the-kitchen Donna Hay. Try her delicious recipe for yourself.

And whilst this home-style soup lacks the deliciously thick cheese crust, the soup flavours are impeccable. I also love experimenting with different cheeses spread generously upon thinly sliced baguette to make delectable croutons (try blue cheese, chevre, or cheddar). Let them soak for a minute in the hot soup before scooping up the softened goodness – delish!

Sometimes, on a cold winters night I like to whip up a batch of this soup, pour myself a glass of wine and put on some gentle French music – if I close my eyes it almost feels like I could be in Paris.

Onion soup image courtesy of geographyalltheway.com on Flickr.
Amelie image courtesy of pinprick on Flickr.
Donna Hay recipe book image from my copy of Donna Hay – Modern Classics.

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4 Responses to “An Ode to Onion Soup”

  1. homemadewithmess July 23, 2012 at 7:46 AM #

    French Onion soup is the best 😀

  2. sybaritica July 23, 2012 at 11:09 PM #

    I haven’t made this in ages but back in my restaurant cooking days, the cheesy crust was made with grated Mozarella that was first tossed with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. We ladled the onion soup into bowls, put a handful of croutons on top and put the cheese mixture on top of the croutons before they soaked up much liquid then tossed it into a 500 degree oven.

    • parisinmypocket July 24, 2012 at 8:53 PM #

      Delicious! Thanks for the tip I’ll have to try your recipe!

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