I remember the packet French onion soup from my childhood, that was used to enhance other foods, but we never ate it on its own. So I was intrigued to try to make my own, to see if I could change my mental image of this famous soup. As this soup requires beef stock, and for this kind of food I don’t like to use ready made ones, I made my own stock, and then decided to add some of the leftover meat into this soup, which actually worked really well.
1 litre beef stock Beef broth (stock)
4 large onions
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp cognac or brandy
150ml red wine
1 bay leaf
salt and black pepper to taste
1. Peel and cut the onions in half, then slice thinly. Put in a pan together with the butter and oil. I think quite a large, deep pan is good for this, due to the flaming at later stage. On a low temperature, fry the onions for 20 minutes, until soft, stirring from time to time.
2. Add the sugar, and fry, stirring occasionally, for another 20 minutes.
3. Add the cognac, and carefully set alight. I used long matches. At first, the flames will be quite big so stand back. They will however quickly reduce. The flambéing process reduces the alcoholic content in the food, whilst still keeping the flavours of the drink.
4. Once the flames go out, add the red wine, stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
5. Check the taste, and add salt and pepper if required.
6. As I made my stock particularly this soup in mind on the same day, I had all the meat left. Even though this soup is slightly sweet, I decided to add some of the meat into the soup. I just added the cooled, stripped meat pieces straight into the soup in the serving bowls.