It was one of these days when I needed to eat hot, comforting soup. It was Sunday, so there was no way I could go to the shop and get some extra ingredients. Due to… Sunday, distance to the nearest shop and Sunday (lets call it this way) laziness.
I checked my freezer and found some real beef stock that I’ve made especially for classic French onion soup. Suddenly I felt this overwhelming feeling – I had to eat this soup. I have checked the list of ingredients: onions, butter, white wine (from a box, but what a hell!), piece of two days old baguette, some fresh thyme. Cheese… No Gruyere in a fridge… There is plenty of… Cheddar, typical English cheese. Ooops!
Everyone who knows little bit about the history realises what for centuries were the mutual feelings between English and French people. However not many people knows that English people have their own way to disrespect others - lets compare it to the American obscene gesture performed by showing the back of the hand, extending the middle finger. English one looks little bit different and is performed by showing back of the hand and extending two fingers – an index and middle one. Did you ever think where it comes from? In the earlier part of the millennium, when England and France were frequently at battle, the French would cut-off the English archers’ (taken as prisoners) fingers necessary for shooting an arrow. After this became known to the English archers, they would flash this gesture to the French in the battlefield, showing them that they still had their fingers and could still cause lot damage in the battle.
In my kitchen – I decided – there will not be such quarrels! I will make this classic French soup and finish it off with a crouton with most famous English cheese.
about 500g white onion, peeled
tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp sugar
about 125ml dry white wine
about 600ml beef stock
2 slices of baguette
few drops of olive oil
some grated cheddar
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the butter in a large pan and gently cook the onion, sugar and thyme until the onion is softened but not browned - about 25 minutes. Increase the heat and cook until the onion becomes dark golden, sticky and caramelised, stirring now and again to stop it catching. Add the wine and simmer for a minute or so, until most of the wine evaporates, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, drizzle the bread with some olive oil and place under hot grill. When one side is golden, remove from the oven, rub each with peeled garlic, turn up side down and sprinkle with the cheese. Grill until golden and chesse is melted.
Serve the soup with the cheese croutons on top and you can garnish with some fresh thyme.