If you read about my weekend in Venice, you’ll know I fell in love with a bowl of Onion Soup. As soon as I got home, I went out to buy the ingredients to make it for dinner. I used Julia Child’s recipe as my base, but added a couple of little extras. Julia uses cognac… I used a splash of port. I also added thyme and star anise. The star anise was suggested by the manager at Quadri after I had raved about how INCREDIBLE their Onion Soup was, and I noticed thyme was present in many other recipes for Onion Soup I found online. I love the falvour fresh thyme adds to savoury recipes so I didn’t hesitate in adding it.
- 1kg thinly sliced brown onions.
- 45g butter
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
- 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 star anise
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons (25g) flour
- 1900ml beef stock (preferably homemade)
- 200ml dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons (healthy splash) port
The key to onion soup success is the long and slow cooking of the onions. Don’t try to rush this recipe because if you burn the onions, you may as well throw everything out becasue there is no worse flavour than that of burnt, bitter onions.
- Use a cast iron Dutch oven. (I used my faithful one from Le Creuset).
- To slice onions thinly, I suggest using a food processor if you have one… I still had tears streaming down my face but it made my life much easier.
- Add butter, olive oil, thyme, star anise and onions to saucepan and cook on a low heat in a covered saucepan for 15 minutes.
- Uncover, raise heat a little and add salt and sugar. Stir constantly and cook for 40 minutes, until the onions have turned golden brown. (Be careful and pay attention to not burn onions by stirring constantly).
- Add flour and stir for 3 minutes, scraping wooden spoon on bottom of saucepan to lift all crusty bits that may stick. Remove star anise and any thyme twigs.
- Remove saucepan from heat, add wine and stir through. Add beef stock, and returning to heat, simmer for 45 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.
- Add port.
- Just before serving, ladel soup into oven proof bowls and place under grill to brown tops.
- OPTIONAL yet traditional, would be to serve the soup with toasted baguette slices, with Gruyère cheese melted on top. These can also be placed onto the soup before putting bowls under the grill.