I was 11 and on a week-long ‘boot-knock’ school trip to Paris when I had the oppo to try this legend of the French culinary universe. I wandered whimpering into the kitchen of the hotel we were holed up in and the one of the chefs took pity on me…I had a black eye and a bloodied nose, I had just had my arse handed to me by a few 6th formers due to a cigarette theft or more accurately the case of mistaken identity in said cigarette theft incident!
“Hey you, why you here, you face all bust up….here try theez zoup”….really good zoup…..try eet”…it looked nothing at all like any ‘zoup’ I’d ever seen what with a cheesy baguette stickin’ out the top but it blew my 11 year old mind sideways! No more robbing blunts for me – Onion soup is my new vice baby!
INGREDIENTS – makes 2 crocks
3 medium white onions
50mls great port
50 mls quality Balsamic vinegar
1 big French baguette
1 ltr chicken stock
Thinly slice the onions. Now, here’s what you need to know about preventing crying when working with onions – you need a viciously sharp knife. That’s all, no goggles or running water – that rubbish. You cry because you use a blunt knife this causes the onion to send its liquid sky-high when you cut it – use a good sharp knife and it will reduce the spray when you cut.
In a big knob of butter brown the onions really, really well – 20 minutes at least. This produces a wonderful dark colour and an intense yet soft onion flavour
Transfer the onions to a pot and add the port, vinegar and stock – bring to a boil and simmer gently for 45 minutes
After 45 minutes check the seasoning and adjust as to your own preference – then ladle the French Onion Soup into crocks to about 3/4 full
Thickly slice the baguette and have a toast up
Stick the 2 croutons into the soup crock which is really what makes this French Onion Soup and liberally top with the grated cheese – sling under a screaming hot grill until melty and serve immediately