Brrrrr! It hasn’t been too warm recently, but that only serves to fuel my efforts in the kitchen in a bid to warm our bones and lift our spirits. My love of soup is no secret, but with the festive season in full and jolly motion, I couldn’t possibly post a meagre soup recipe and wish you all the best. So, I’ll begin with soup and then move onto some more substantial treats like my tasty terrine and some festive rocky road bars! Yay!
I’m sure that if you’re a fan of soup, you’ll have your own winter favourite that springs to mind when thinking of a dark and icy evening. My perfect winter warmer is French onion soup, but it hasn’t always been that way.
The very first time I tried French onion soup was not in France. Sadly, no charming tale will follow of soup made by a gentleman in a small French village as the snow gently buried our broken-down car. Instead, a chilly evening in Hong Kong (if such a thing existed), as I gingerly pushed open the door to Jimmy’s Kitchen. The restaurant was dimly lit and the dark wood and old photographs added to the atmosphere. I ordered the onion soup and delighted in the deep, warming flavours. I’ve never looked back. Winter night? Onion soup.
Serving the soup is fun if you add a chunk of French bread and melt cheese over everything. This time, I resisted. The following recipe is simple and guaranteed to banish the winter chills.
French onion soup
3 red onions (sliced)
3 white/brown onions (sliced)
1 pint beef stock
1 glass red wine
Begin by gently frying the onions in a little butter on the lowest heat. The onions should cook very gently and caramelize. This takes a while and when done, the onions will be brown, but not burned. If the onions begin to burn, turn the heat down and add tiny amounts of water or stock.
Next, transfer the onions to the pot that you intend to cook the soup in (if they aren’t in it already). Pour in the stock and the wine and boil rapidly for a minute or two. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for at least fifteen minutes (and up to thirty). Season the soup to taste. I sometimes add sprigs of thyme at this stage for a final flavour. I told you it was simple! As long as you cook the onions for long enough, you’ll have a dark soup with bags of flavour. You can easily make it with fewer onions too. I like a lot. God bless the onion!
Tomorrow, festive rocky road bars (with pics, I promise)!