Classic French Onion Soup

IMG_7110Serves 4

This recipe is from Ramond Blanc’s Kew Garden on a Plate cookbook that came out in the UK in May 2015. It’s simple, but great. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to the Rose de Roscoff onions Raymond highly recommends, but for the lesser refined palate a simple yellow onion does just fine. It’s the blend of acidity and sweetness that makes the difference. The soup is served with fresh croutons as well as a generous heaping of Comté cheese.

2 Tbsp all purpose flour
60 g unsalted butter
1 kg yellow onions (about 4)
2 tsp sea salt
2 pinches of freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
1.5 quarts of water
12 x 1/2’ slices of baguette or similar
5 oz Comté cheese (or another taste melting cheese – don’t tell Raymond)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Sift the flour into a small baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. It will turn light brown and the heat develops a nutty flavor which will add another layer of complexity to the soup.
Heat butter in a good quality sauce pan over high heat and let melt without letting it brown.
Peel onions, cut half-wise and slice into 1/4″ or less half-disks.
Add onions to the butter and soften for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Season with salt and pepper
Boil white wine quickly for 30 seconds which removes most of the alcohol that has the bitterness, but keeping all the fruity qualities and acidity of the wine. Set aside.
Continue cooking the onions for 20-30 minutes to achieve a rich brown color, stirring every 2-3 minutes to make sure the caramelized onion bits at the bottom are scraped off to prevent burning.
Once the onions are the desired color, sift in the toasted flour and mix thoroughly to absorb the juices.
Gradually stir in the white wine and whisk to prevent lumps forming.
Add water and repeat whisking.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
In the meantime, toast the bread slices in the oven until golden and grate cheese. Set aside.
Serve soup in serving bowls, topped with croutons and a healthy sprinkle of grated cheese.