The sophisticated classic… French Onion Soup

Preparation time – 10 minutes Cooking time – 1hr 40

Without a doubt, my favourite thing about Autumn is soup – there is nothing more warming on a damp, grey day than a steaming bowl of home-made soup with crusty bread!

OnionsWhich is why, when it came to cooking a three course meal last week, French Onion Soup seemed the perfect choice for starter… classy and elegant, not too heavy but full of flavour and best of all wonderful as re-heated leftovers the following day.

Ingredients: (3 – 4 portions)
3 medium white onions sliced (use large onions if you want to serve 6)
1 – 2 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
½ tsp sugar (I tend to go for brown sugar)
1 bay leaf
200ml of beef stock
100ml of Dry Vermouth + 150 ml water (replace with white wine if you don’t have vermouth in the house)
1 tbsp plain flour (mixed with a bit of water to make a paste)

After making French Onion Soup once before, I decided to take a risk this time around and add my own twist to the original recipe. Luckily this paid off and the soup tasted much better than my previous attempt.

Slice your onions (how small you chop really depends on how chunky you like your soup – I normally slice pretty finely)
Crush your garlic


1) Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan until butter is melted (low-med heat) add your sliced onions and stir to coat in the butter. Cook on low heat for 2 mins

2) Stir in crushed garlic and sugar, continue to cook on low until onions just start to brown (about 5 minutes)

3) Add ¾ of the stock (about 150 ml), the dry vermouth and water (or white wine) and the bay leaf, cover and cook on a very low heat for 30 minutes

4) After ½ an hour, stir and heat until simmering. Simmer gently for 40 minutes, uncovered.

5) Stir in the flour and check the consistency after 40 minutes of simmering. If the soup has reduced down quite a bit and you’re concerned about portion size, add the rest of the stock (or even a bit of water). Make sure you taste the soup at this point and make a judgement call on seasoning, I find that this soup is SO full of flavour that it’s not needed, but feel free to add salt and pepper to your taste

6) Simmer for another 20 minutes… and serve!

French Onion Soup worked brilliantly as a starter, mouth wateringly flavoursome but not heavy like a creamier or chunkier soup. It awakens the taste buds for the main course, without filling you up too much!

The first recipe I followed for this advised Dijon mustard to be added in at the same point as the flour. My reason for ditching it second time around and for the recipe above was that it simply wasn’t necessary, the onions give off such a wonderful flavour I found the mustard almost distracting and didn’t think it added anything to the dish.

The vermouth is another if my own twists as the original recipe called for white wine. (All out of wine I blagged it with a bit of vermouth and water!) The vermouth works very well however and really brings out the sweet taste of the onions so definitely a worthwhile substitution if you have the ingredients.

I’d love to get your feedback on the recipe plus any improvements or personal twists you have on French Onion Soup!

One thought on “The sophisticated classic… French Onion Soup

  1. Gemma Reply

    I like Jamie although he has a tendancy to require loads of ingredients (which can often require a quite exensive shopping trip just to get what you need for one meal) His pasta recipes are brilliant though – especially Carbonara yummy! Gemma

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