Monday, 6 February 2017

French Onion Soup (with homemade vegetable stock!)



Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

It's soup day!
Alhamdulillah finally, I am sharing this French onion soup with you all.
It is just the thing to get you through these cold, windy days.
Even making the soup is quite therapeutic and cosy. I like to make mine with a roasted vegetable stock but you can of course, use ready-made or a stock cube or two. Making stock is the easiest though. I roast a tonne of veggies with garlic and olive oil until just golden. Then, I tip everything into a giant pot with more spices, herbs, seasonings and a lot of water. The stock comes to the boil and then just simmers away on the cooker for a few hours.
At the end, once strained, you have actual liquid gold. The stock keeps in the fridge and we actually freeze it too. It gives so much flavour to this onion soup along with of course, the onions. I caramelise mine, low and slow, for at least an hour to get the maximum sweetness out of them.

And of course with soup, we love our bread. This onion soup goes really well with my giant cheese croutons. They get really crispy under the grill, float well in the soup and make the best accompaniment to a simple but special meal.

Soup, previously: roasted butternut squash soup // carrot and coriander soup // creamy tomato soup

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Butter
2. Vegetable Oil
3. Onions
4. Caster Sugar
5. Plain Flour
6. Vegetable Stock
7. Salt
8. Black Pepper

Bismillah, let's begin!

The first ingredient that makes this soup taste so good is the stock. You can use chicken, beef or vegetable. I made my own but if you want to use ready-made, use a good quality one. There aren't many ingredients in this soup so let's use the best ones we can.

For the vegetable stock, I took:
3 Onions, unpeeled and quartered
4 Carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped
3 Tomatoes, halved
1 bulb Garlic, unpeeled and broken into cloves
4 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
I left the peel on the vegetable to give the stock more flavour. The veg was roasted on two trays, in a single layer and drizzled with olive oil. I roasted mine for 30 minutes at 220C.

Once the vegetables have roasted, tip them into a large, deep pot with:
Salt, to taste (I did 2 teaspoons)
Small handful Fresh Parsley
10 Black Peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
5 litres Water
Stir and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and let the stock simmer away for 3-4 hours.

Then, let the stock cool completely.

Once cool, the stock can be strained.

I set 1 litre and 500ml aside for my soup.

And, froze the rest in 300ml portions ready to use whenever a recipe asked for stock.

Look at the beautiful colour. This stock really was liquid gold.

Now that I've shown you the stock, let's make the actual soup. You'll need a deep pot set over a low heat.

Add in 45g Unsalted Butter and 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil.

Next, the most important ingredient - the onions! Take 6 large Onions which weighed around 1kg / 2 pounds.

Peel and thinly slice the onions. They may make you cry but I promise, this soup is worth it.

Add the sliced onions to the pan.

Now, to get the maximum flavour from these onions, we are going to caramelise them. So first, stir them together over a high heat to get them all coated in the oil and butter.

Then, add in 2 teaspoons Caster Sugar and stir it in.

First, I like to let my onions soften by covering the pot with a lid and leaving them on a low heat for at least 30 minutes, giving them a stir every now and then.

Once they're soft, we can uncover them and let them start to caramelise to a lovely golden brown colour. This may take up to another 30 minutes.

You don't want to rush this step. I like to keep the heat on medium low and let the onion slowly caramelise without burning them. Give them a stir every now and then to stop them from sticking.

Once the onions are ready, sprinkle in 30g Plain Flour.


Stir the flour for a few minutes. Don't worry if it sticks. Once the stock goes in, it will deglaze the pot for us.


Speaking of, let's add in the stock. Take 1 litre and 500ml Vegetable Stock. I used my homemade but you may use a good quality ready-made one or even the same amount of water with 2 stock cubes. Also, chicken or beef stock would be really good here.


Pour in the stock.


Stir and bring everything to the boil. Scrape the pot with your spoon to get all the bits off the bottom.


Add in 1 teaspoon Salt. More or less depending on how salty your stock is.


And, add in 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper.


Once the soup has come to the boil, cover and turn the heat right down. Cook for 35-40 minutes.


And, we're done. You have one good soup on your hands so let's serve up.


Before we serve, let me say that this soup serves up to 8 people. I freeze a few portions because who doesn't love homemade soup whenever they want? To freeze, I cool the soup completely and then freeze in containers. To heat up, I just dump the entire frozen block of soup into a saucepan and let it heat through completely.


This soup is really good on its own but we love it with these giant cheese croutons.


To make them, I slice up some crusty bread. I used a loaf of tiger bread but any will do.


You want the slice pretty thick to stand up to the soup. Grill/toast the bread until really crispy.


Then, cover the bread slices with grated Cheddar and toast again until the cheese has melted.


Time to serve!


Ladle the soup into bowls.


Steaming hot!


You can eat the soup on its own and dunk the cheesy bread as you go but ....


... because we grilled the bread twice, it's super crispy and makes the perfect giant crouton!

I sliced mine in half and threw them over the soup.

A floating cheese island!


Some green (chopped parsley) to brighten things up and now, we can eat!


I love this soup! It's honestly one of my favourite ones to make. With such simple ingredients, you can create the most special meal. Enjoy!

French Onion Soup (with homemade vegetable stock!)

Prep Time: About 15 minutes.
Cook Time: About 1 hour + 50 minutes // extra 4 hours, if making the stock.
Serves: About 8 people.

Ingredients

For the Homemade Vegetable Stock
3 Onions, unpeeled and quartered
4 Carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped
3 Tomatoes, halved
1 bulb Garlic, unpeeled and broken into cloves
4 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
Olive Oil, as needed
Salt, to taste
Small handful Fresh Parsley
10 Black Peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
5 litres Water

For the French Onion Soup
45g Unsalted Butter
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
6 large Onions (1kg / 2 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Caster Sugar
30g Plain Flour
1 litre and 500ml (3 pints) Vegetable or Chicken or Beef Stock
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

For the Giant Cheese Croutons
Crusty Bread, sliced and as needed
Cheddar, grated and as needed

To make the homemade vegetable stock:
Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Place the onions, carrots, tomatoes, garlic and celery onto lined baking trays. I used two to make sure that all the vegetables were in a single layer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for 30 minutes.

Tip all the roasted vegetables into a large, deep pot. Add in the salt, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaf and water. Stir and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and let the stock simmer away on the lowest heat for 3-4 hours.

Let the stock cool completely before straining. Store in the fridge or freezer and use, as needed.

To make the French onion soup:
Heat a large, deep pot over a medium heat. Add in the butter and vegetable oil. Once melted, add in the sliced onions and caster sugar. Stir well and let the onions caramelise down until very golden brown, sweet and soft. This may take up to 1 hour over a low heat, stirring every now and then. I like to cover the onions with a lid at the beginning. Once they are soft, I uncover and stir until they're golden.

Sprinkle in the plain flour and stir for a few minutes over a medium heat. Pour in the stock. I used my homemade vegetable one but you can use any you like. Add in the salt and pepper. Stir and bring to the boil. Cover and turn the heat right down. Cook for 35-40 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

To make the giant cheese croutons:
Toast the bread until crispy and golden. Sprinkle with the grated Cheddar and grill/bake until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately with the soup.

{stock adapted from laura / soup adapted from mary}

This Time One Year Ago:

This Time Two Years Ago:

chocolate orange biscuits.

This Time Three Years Ago:
spicy baked tortilla chips.

This Time Four Years Ago:
fraisier cake.


Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your onion soup!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

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