I have this long ingrained love for onions and its family of all kinds. Onions are the most widely used vegetable and the most versatile. If you’ve been following the Iron Chef America series for a while now, they did this episode where the secret ingredient was none other than onions.
Besides salivating throughout the entire show, it proves that onions have gained its rightful place at the top of the food groups in my personal opinion. Most of the time, we treat onions as more of a base to build up more flavours but I think with the right technique and unlimited imagination, onions can stand as fantastic main dishes.
My mother made me my first Onion Soup. It wasn’t THE French Onion Soup but it was a good onion soup nevertheless. One thing I do have to stress about Onion Soup is that if you’re going to use cheese on top, do not…..do not use mozzarella. I may get into trouble writing about this but hey…..I think as a customer I am entitled to my opinions without any malicious intent. TGIF, the chain restaurant serves Onion Soup and they put mozzarella on top. Now while I do not argue that this is enjoyable to some, I find the enjoyment to be short-lived and here’s why; mozzarella will only have that stretchy texture when it’s warm and hot. When they serve the soup to you, it is warm but it cools down quickly. You know what happens to mozzarella when it’s cool, it hardens into a clump….as demonstrated here;
Picture courtesy of Foodbeast , to this blogger, I know you are in favour of this dish, I respect that but your picture is the best I could find to make my point.
Would you like eating a lump of harden cheese with your soup? Not me. And in all honesty, the original recipe never calls for mozzarella, it’s either Gruyere, Swiss or Cheddar. But then again…..whichever rocks your boat, if you think mozzarella rocks with onion soup by all means go ahead and pile it on. I prefer to use cheddar in mine, only because Gruyere is like, bloody expensive here.
FRENCH ONION SOUP RECIPE
3 – 4 large onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 knob of butter
2 cups beef stock (if using stock cubes, be wary of the salt content)
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar (optional)
Cheddar cheese (shredded)
slices of French baguette
1. In your food processor with the slicer attachment, put your peeled and halved onions through it, they should have that beautifully thin-sliced thickness. Or if you’re really genius with your knife skills and have tear ducts of a rock, you can also cut it manually with a knife.
2. In a considerably large pot, add your olive oil, butter and onions. Sweat it out for 15 mins with some salt and black pepper.
3. As it starts to brown a little, turn the heat down to low. Add your thyme and brown sugar and let it cook, stirring occasionally for another 30 mins. Add your red wine vinegar towards the end. The onions should look very jam/marmalade-like. It might take you longer or shorter time to cook. But it’s alright as long as you achieve that look and texture.
4. Pour in your beef stock and give it a stir. Let it come to a boil and then simmer for 20 – 40 mins. Taste, if it needs more salt, add. Add your black pepper.
5. When the onion soup is ready, butter your slice of French baguette and toast it. When the baguette is ready, turn up your oven to 250 degrees Celcius with the top grill on.
6. Ladle your soup into oven-proof bowls and place your toasted baguette on top. Then top if off with shredded cheddar.
7. Place it in the oven for 10 mins. When the cheese has melted, take it out of the oven. Let it cool a bit and sip that brothy, cheesy goodness!