French Onion Soup

It’s that time of year when almost everyone you know has either just got over a cold or is in the throws of one……runny nose, coughing, sniffing the works. Cook this soup and you will be fighting off the bugs and getting back on your feet in no time! In my view, there is always a food solution to most problems in life.

Cooking not only takes your mind off things but inhaling all those onion and garlic aromas will unblock the most stuffy noses. Onions and garlic are also known for their antibacterial and antiviral properties, plus this soup smells and tastes so flipping good, it can’t fail to get you feeling better.

I ate a lot of Onion Soup in my younger days while skiing in the French Alps. The smell of the real genuine article French Onion Soup would waft over the piste at lunchtime, drawing skiers in like rodents seeking out the Pied Piper. I’m sure they laced it with more than the normal amount of alcohol as the afternoon’s skiing always did seem to be rather more jolly despite more time spent sliding down the slope on your bum than on skis!

I recommend you make more than you think you can eat as you are likely to want seconds, plus you can always keep in the fridge for a couple of days for easy lunches. Eat this soup on it’s own or add a big chunk of bread topped with melted cheese cooked under the grill and you have an entire main meal all sorted!

I used around 1.5 kg of onions in my recipe which might seem a lot, but they reduce down when you cook them. All you need is plenty of patience as the onions can take up to 20 min to caramelize but it’s worth it to get all those amazing flavours which will permeate through your soup. If you have time, make your own beef stock from bones but I’m figuring you are probably still full of a cold, so good quality beef stock cubes or supermarket bought fresh stock is fine.

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I also like to add “leftover white wine” to my soup which the French add to their traditional recipe, although I have seen some recipes with brandy, so add if you dare! If you are a Weight Watcher then just leave out the alcohol.

I just want to rewind on that one….. I know many of my friends will already be raising their eyebrows over the concept of “leftover wine” at this stage. The truth is that I often struggle to finish a whole bottle of white wine by myself, even after 2-3 days, as hubby is a red wine man.  I save any leftovers by freezing in ice cube trays to use in cooking at a later date. If you are the kind of person who normally does finish the entire bottle by yourself (or with help!)…..and I am not judging you…. then you are just going to have to open another for the occasion! You could always pour a glass to sip while you are cooking the onions to pass the time, as I did say they could take a while. French cooking can’t be rushed so savour the moment.

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You can cook the soup on the hob in a big stock pot with a lid or I prefer to cook in my Instant Pot. I just bung everything in, switch on, then leave the pot to work it’s magic. Enjoy!

 

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Ingredients

1.5 kg of brown onions, sliced

1-2 oz of butter or a couple of tablespoons of olive oil

7 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon each of garlic granules and onion granules

a tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves or a teaspoon of dried thyme or mixed herbs

1.5 litres of fresh beef stock or 3 beef stock cubes plus  1.5 litres of hot water from the kettle

Half a litre of white wine

black pepper to taste

Method

Gently cook the sliced onions in butter or olive oil over a medium heat, while stirring. This can be done in a frying pan or straight in the Instant Pot on Saute Mode. Don’t let the onions burn but keep stirring and cooking for 15 to 20 min until they reduce down and turn a golden brown colour.

Transfer the onions to the Instant Pot if not already cooked in there or to a big stock pot, if cooking on the hob.

Add the wine and deglaze the base of the Instant Pot if you previously fried the onions in it. Make sure there are no caramelized bits of onion stuck to the base of the pot.

Add the fresh beef stock or stock cubes plus the water, herbs, dried onion powder, garlic (fresh and dried) and stir to combine.

Cook for 3 min on Manual in the Instant Pot followed by 20 Min Natural Pressure Release then Manual Pressure Release. For hob cooking, put a lid on the stock pot and simmer gently for 25 to 30 min stirring occasionally.

Serve sprinkled with fresh thyme in warmed bowls. You can top with bread and grilled cheese, croutons or just enjoy on it’s own. Bon Appetit!

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