Tonight an easy dinner: French onion soup from a jar. But not just any jar. It’s from the KleinsteSoepFabriek (The SmallestSoupFactory) - The SmallestSoupFactory produces soups. Full, delicious and adventurous soups, inspired by far away travels, and created according to traditional methods.
From their website:
For this French onion soup the onions are slow-cooked to create ultimate flavour and a beautiful yellow-gold colour. After they’ve been cooked the other ingredients are added. This onion soup is a delicious warming and invigorating soup which used to be eaten as early as 5 am by the market traders of Les Halles in Paris. Instead of coffee, it was onion soup! For evenings: it’s also tasty with a dash of white wine or cognac. If desired add some croutons.
We made it with a splash of white wine and ate it with a baguette. Absolutely delicious.
This is a nice standby to have, but onion soup is also fairly easy to make yourself. This recipe is from Sophie Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights. As Sophie herself says:
“Purists will argue this is nothing like the real thing, which should be made with beef stock and have a great molten island of bread and cheese on top. I use vegetable stock and lose the bread - it’s not as heavy, yet still as decadent. The trick is sloooooooooow cooking the onions, so they impart their rich caramelly flavour to the soup.”
French Onion Soup
from Sophie Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights
3 large yellow onions
1 tablespoon of butter
Slug of olive oil
2 litres / 8 cups of stock - I used 4 cups of chicken stock and 4 cups of vegetable stock.
1 tablespoon of good aged syrupy balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
100 g / 1 cup of grated cheese (Gruyere or parmezan according to Sophie or aged Gouda when you are in the Netherlands like me :-))
1. Roughly chop the onions. In a large pot (like a heavy-bottomed Le Creuset) melt the butter with a few glugs of olive oil on a low heat. You don’t want it to burn. Make sure the bottom of the pan is covered by swishing it around.
2. Pour in the onions, mix them into the oil with a wooden spoon and sweat gently for about 40 minutes. If your heat is kept to the lowest setting they won’t neat more oil. Sometimes this is helped by using a heat diffuser pad. Towards the end of the cooking, turn up the heat a bit; you want the onions to brown and caramelize, not to be charred to a crisp.
3. When the onions look golden and browned around the edges, pour in the stock. Turn down the heat to low again, stir, and add the balsamic vinegar. I don’t know why, but this gives the soup a mellow, sweet earthiness. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes, taste, add salt and pepper if needed and then, using a ladle, pour into bowls.
4. Pour the cheese in when you’re about to serve.
Onion soup is also nice to serve as an appetizer or a small dish during a high tea, it looks lovely when served in small glasses.