The Soup of the Drunkards, or The Hangover soup?
French Onion Soup first appeared in French cookbooks in the early 1800’s. The French, who had already established their excelling ways in culinary delight, stumbled upon a strange discovery. This discovery was a notable connection with the soup and alcohol. It was duly noted that the French Onion soup provides not only an excellent cure for a ‘hang-over’, but it’s also a great disguise to the smell of alcohol. Perciò, the name “soup of the drunkards” was quickly given as an association to French Onion Soup.
In the same vein, I wasn’t looking to cure a hangover, nor disguise the smell of a boozy night. But rather, the mood just struck me as being a “French Onion Soup Day”. Consequently, when I announced it at home, the girls quickly became excited at the notion of having it. Upon learning the method I was going to work with takes four hours long to steep, caramelize and cook down, they were happy to look forward to dinner.
A ton of onions, please!
This recipe calls for 8lbs. of onions! Like most of my approaches to recipes, I tend to work with what I”m given. With having 8 onions to work with this recipe, I had two, giant onions, and six medium size onions. It was going to have to do! This particular recipe feels authentic to me. It calls for 8lbs of onions (cut down their lines, in an orderly fashion), 1 TBS of butter, a few pinches of salt (to sweat the onions), and that’s it! No rue, no beef stock, no dark colors! To get the warm brown hue, you add in the end a drizzle of cooking Sherry and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. This little topper gives the soup a bit of acidity and flavor. It’s quite a deeply rich result, and the Gruyere cheese and cristoni are perfection!
Zuppa di cipolle francese
- 1 TBS burro
- 8 lbs cipolle circa 10+
- 3/4 lb formaggio gruyere, triturati
- 10 fette baguette bread toasted in oven
- 2-4 TBS sale
- acqua to cover the last 30 il mio.
- 2 TBS cooking sherry
- 1-2 splashes aceto balsamico
- peel the onions, slice in halve, then slice down their lines, thus making all the cuts the same size and relative thickness
- add your TBS of butter to the large stock pot
- then add your onions, e il sale, and cook on high, then reduce and cover with a lid, simmer on low for about 4 hours. The onions will caramelize, and exude a lot of sweetness via sweating. It’s fundamental to the rich results of this soup!
- while the soup cooks, and about 1/2 hour before the soup is finished, cut the bread and lay on a baking sheet. Broil in oven until toasted.
- shred your cheese
- assemble the bowls and serve the soup with a deep ladle. Then, layer your bread, and finish with the cheese on top.
- put in the oven, on broil until cheese melts and is toasted.