French cuisine is renowned for it’s elaborate preparations, expensive restaurants and great chefs. In the same time, French cuisine is very appreciated for its classic recipes, not very refined, but very tasty, like the French Onion Soup.
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Onion soups have been popular since Roman times and were associated to food for the poor people. The modern version of the onion soup originates in France in the 18th century. Although it has ancient origins, this soup regained popularity in the USA during the 1960s when the interest for the French cuisine was very high.
The specific elements of the French Onion Soup are the caramelized onions and the use of beef and chicken stock. Also, the soup is served with croutons and cheese topping.
The French Onion Soup is easy to make, but to obtain the authentic flavor you have to respect few things.
The key ingredients are: the onions, unsalted butter, beef stock or broth, 2 or 3 glasses of red wine, Gruyère cheese, baguettes. Some recipes replace the red wine with Sherry or white wine.
This is the most important step that requires low and slow cooking. Onions have an abundant amount of natural sugar. The caramelization process turns the natural sugars into other complex sugars that are sweet and nutty. The sliced onions are stir slightly in the melt butter. This process can last up to 20 minutes until the whole onion becomes brown and well-caramelized. Many chefs prefer hours of cooking to bring out the entire savor of the onion’s sugar.
Add the rest of the ingredients, stir the mixture and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
Prepare the croutons
The croutons are a must for the classical French onion soup. To obtain the croutons you can use some slices of bread which will be individually rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil.
Assemble the soup
Pour the soup into few oven-resistant soup bowls. Then place a few of the croutons on top and last cover them with a lot of grated cheese. The bowls will be place in the oven for few minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
There are few variations of the basic recipe by adding or removing some ingredients. An example is the vegetarian version that excludes the beef/chicken stock.
The French onion soup is very appreciated by many people. Is this your favorite in the French cuisine?