Traditional onion soup

Onion soup

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Onion soup is often associated with France. In France, the current version of onion soup was created in the 18th century.

The basis of the soup is meat reduction and caramelised onion. The soup is served grilled with croutons and cheese.

When I visited France in December, of course, I tasted the traditional onion soup there. It has its unique flavour, but above all its simplicity. After returning home, I made my version of the soup.

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Traditional onion soup
Onion soup

Ingredients for onion soup.

  • 800 g white onion
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1,2 l vegetable broth
  • 1 full spoon of flour
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 200 g Gruyere cheese
  • baguette

How to make onion soup.

Peel the onion and cut into thin pieces. Place the pieces in a pot and add butter and dried thyme. Fry on a low heat for half an hour stirring constantly. The onions should not get burnt, they are supposed to soften.

After half an hour, add brown sugar and bay leaf to the onion, and fry until the onion begins to caramelise. It should turn slightly brown.

Add flour to the caramelised onions, mix and fry together for 30 seconds. Then slowly add the vegetable stock. Salt the soup, season to taste with pepper. Cook on a very low heat for another 40 minutes.

Cut the baguette into thin slices. Lightly stick each slice. Grate Gruyere cheese. Arrange the grated cheese on slices.

Pour the soup into the ramekins. Arrange a baguette with cheese on top of each soup. Put them in an oven preheated to 190 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes. The cheese should be melt and lightly baked.

Carefully remove the hot soup from the oven. Serve immediately.

Onion soup
Onion soup


Good to know when making onion soup.

The traditional French soup contains meat stock. It is, for example, a reduction of chicken, beef meat or mixed meat. I used vegetable broth. You can also just use water.

Do not serve the soup with too many toasts. 1-2 are enough. Toasts should not completely cover the soup.

What onion should you use for onion soup? You can go for white (sweet), yellow and even red onions. I made the soup only with white onion. It is very delicate in taste and caramelises faster.

At the end of frying the onions, you can also add a little alcohol, such as sherry, cognac or white wine. If you do this, the alcohol must be evaporated.

My onions softened very quickly hence I did not cook them for too long. It may happen that you might need to keep the soup on the stove for hours. It all depends how quickly it becomes soft.

Do you like vegetable soups? If so, try our recipe for Pickled cucumber soup.

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