When the weather gets colder and the leaves begin to turn, it’s time for a bowl of French onion soup and this year, I decided to finally learn how to make it.

If you ask anyone here in Paris, they will each give you a different answer as to where you can get the best onion soup. Each differs from the next, and so I decided to have a go, using my new favourite cookbook Le Grand Livre Marabout de la Cuisine des Légumes, the recipe it provides is simple, allowing you to add your own interpretations.

First and main adjustment: I do my grocery shopping at Bio c Bon, and recently they have been stocking loads more shallots than onions so in truth, this recipe should be called French Shallot Soup, as I only used one onion and about eight shallots. However, that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it so the name is sticking and the taste was equally as delicious.

Second adjustment: I decided not to coat the soup in gruyère, and instead only but it on the croutons and so focusing on getting the taste of the soup right. Next time, I’ll go all out.

Third adjustment: You can never go wrong with a little bit of dijon mustard, and adding just a scraping of it to the croutons gives them a little kick.

Fourth adjustment: The recipe called for bay leaves but I decided to put in a couple of sprigs of thyme as it is delicious while not being overpowering.

The recipe is as follows (I halved the original recipe to yield four servings):

– 50g unsalted butter
– One white onion, diced
– Eight shallots, diced
– 500ml beef stock
– 75ml dry white wine
– 350ml water
– 1tsp flour
– 2 sprigs of thyme

Croutons:

– 1/2 baguette cut into 1.5cm slices
– 60g grated gruyère
– 1/2tsp dijon mustard

Method:

– Melt the butter in a large casserole and add the onion and shallots, put on a low heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Meanwhile, in another casserole, bring the wine to a boil for about a minute and then add the water and beef stock, bring to the boil once again and then lower. Add the thyme.
– Once the shallots are ready, gradually add the flour and add the stock mixture a ladle at a time, season and then bring to the boil once more, reduce to a simmer and leave for 20 minutes.
– While the soup is cooking, heat the grill of your oven and scrape the heat the baguettes on one side, when they’re ready to turn, scrape over the dijon mustard on the uncooked side of each slice and then sprinkle over the cheese and heat until it starts to bubble.
– Serve the soup in bowls, and add your croutons as desired.

Side note: Not being one for cooking meat at home as a general rule, I sourced my stock from Bio c Bon, where they serve 500ml cans of the stuff, the packaging is recyclable and the stock is organic.

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