The usual way of making classic french onion soup is by sautéing the onions, adding red wine, stock and simmer until ready. I was doing that for the last 10 years until recently, I’ve discovered a “classic restaurant” method, thanks to YouTube. I’ve been following this channel ‘CookinginRussia’ for a while and apparently, this chef (I still don’t know his name though) has many years of experience cooking in restaurants all over the world and now has settled in Russia cooking for private guests. This soup was even served at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant.
Now, this is not a difficult recipe to follow and all you need is time. Yeah, about 5 hours. If you do, then you should definitely give this a try. Usually, flour and sugar are required in most recipes but not this one. Yet, the result yields a thick, rich, flavorful soup which is exactly how I like it.
1 kg yellow onions (about 5 – 6)
750 ml beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove – minced
1 ½ tbsp dry sherry wine
1 tbsp balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp thyme (either fresh or dried)
2 tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter – melted
1 tsp salt (add more if you want)
Pepper – to taste
Butter & Gruyere cheese
Serves 2 – 4
Recipe source: CookingInRussia – YouTube
Melt the butter in microwave or stovetop.
Peel the onions. The direction of how you cut the onions affects the result of your soup. Now, the following steps are very crucial and if you follow correctly, you are one step closer to success.
Cut the onions into half, from top down.
Cut them further into quarters.
Peel off the first layer of the onions (the technique is called “deep peel”) and take out the inner roots of the onions. This way, your onions will be able to release its naturally sweetness and do not need to add any sugar at all.
Place them into an oven proof dish and drizzle over the melted butter and put in the bay leaves. Cover the dish and braise in the oven at 160°C/320°F for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, take out the dish and remove the cover. Fish out the bay leaves and use a spoon to stir the onions around. Put back into the oven and braise for another 30 mins, without the cover.
When done, repeat another time for 30 mins. Therefore, total cooking time is 4 hours. Let the onions cool for a bit before putting them into a blender or food processor. Add in thyme, a little of the beef stock and blend to combine.
You do not need to puree the onions. In a large pot, add in the beef stock, blended onions, minced garlic and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 20 mins.
Meanwhile you can make the croutons. Butter the baguette and place them face down in a non-stick pan, low heat.
Cook until golden brown and flip over to the other side.
Once both sides are evenly browned, add the cheese on top and cover. The cheese will melt. Set aside.
Season the soup with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and sherry. Be careful not to add too much salt.
Taste your soup and adjust accordingly. At this stage, the soup and the croutons can be left at room temperature, until ready to serve. Spoon the soup into soup bowls and top with the cheese croutons. Put in the oven and bake at 200°C/400°F for 8 – 10 mins. Serve hot.