A Bastille Day Classic Recipe

Tomorrow is the 14th of July, Bastille Day, and across France there will French Onion Soupbe large military parades and festivities commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution. Beginning with the storming of the Bastille, a large prison in Paris, the period was one of great political and social upheaval which saw the over throw of the French monarchy and the establishment of the French Republic. In honour of this traditional French National Holiday I am going to cook this classic recipe, which probably had it’s origins in Roman cooking but became prominent amongst eighteenth century French peasants, for which onions were one of the staple dietary components. The addition or use of stock came later as did the cheese croute ( a kind of crispy cheese on toast ). The dish went through a renaissance in the sixties when American chefs really started promoting French recipes and was used as a very fancy dinner party starter although I think it is altogether better as a lunch dish. Enjoy


My Classic French Onion Soup serves 6

1.5 kg peeled sweet Onions, peeled and finely sliced

6 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely crushed

1 ½ litres fresh Beef Stock

100 ml quality Dry Sherry

60 gr Butter

50 ml quality Olive Oil

1 tsp fresh Thyme Leaves, finely chopped

2 Bay Leaves

½ tsp each of Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

¼ tsp freshly ground Nutmeg

Half of a day old Baguette

50 gr grated Cheddar or Gruyère

50 gr grated Parmesan

A couple of pinches of Cayenne pepper

To garnish

Parsley, washed, dried and finely chopped

Heat a slug of the oil and the butter together in a large heavy bottomed pan and add the onions. Stew the onions stirring frequently until all the cooking juices evaporate and the onions start to caramelise. Begin to stir continuously, to prevent the onions sticking and burning and cook until they reach a light brown nutty colour. Add the garlic, thyme, nutmeg, stock and seasoning and bring up to the boil. Simmer gently for fifteen minutes add the sherry and simmer for a further fifteen minutes to evaporate off the alcohol. Correct the seasoning and keep warm.

For the croutes preheat your oven to 325 F / 170 C / Gas mark 3 and thinly slice the baguette. Lay the pieces on a baking tray and drizzle with the remaining oil. Place in the oven and bake for forty minutes until golden brown. Turn up the oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas mark 5. Pour the soup into six oven proof bowls and top with the grated cheeses then sprinkle with the Cayenne. Place the bowls on a tray and place in the oven for fifteen minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Take out of the oven, top with chopped parsley and serve. Please warn your guests about the hot bowls.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s