Onion soup, the French national dish, turns out not to be that French after all! Food historians discovered that the soup might be dating as far back as 6000 BC. Of course, its form back then differed significantly from the onion soup we eat today and resembled rather a tasteless broth. The French, however, were the ones who came up with the idea of caramelizing the vegetables before cooking in order to give them unique, sweet flavor and adding seasoned cheese and dry alcohol for the contrast, making the dish one-of-a-kind, delicious meal.
Rumour has it that the first French version of the onion soup was created by King Louis XV during one of his hunting trips. Reportedly, all that he could find in the pantry during the one stopover was butter, onions, and champagne. By combining all the ingredients together he created the first French onion soup. Truth or not, there’s no doubt about one thing – soupe à l’oignon is a dish which can surely satisfy even a king’s palate.
- 6 large white onions, peeled and sliced
- Olive oil
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 8 cups (600ml) of broth
- 1/2 cup (150ml) of dry wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme
- 8 slices of bread or baguette
- 1 1/2 cups of grated Gruyere cheese (optional Parmesan)
- Melt butter in a big, thick-bottomed pot. Add onions and fry until caramelized. (Be careful not to burn the onions! Once burned, they become bitter.) Add fresh thyme.
- Add wine, stir and cook until the liquid almost completely evaporates.
- In the meantime, toast the baguette slices.
- Add broth and bay leaves to the onions. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Let the soup gently boil for about 15 minutes.
- Put the soup into heatproof serving bowls. Put the toasted baguette on top and sprinkle with grated cheese. Put the bowls into the preheated oven (180 C). Keep them in the oven until cheese melts and becomes golden.
- Bon appétit!