Soupe a l’Oignon

By Mildred Jones

Would you believe it, if I told you that French Onion Soup has its gastronomic roots from Ancient Rome! This simplest of meals is rich in beef stock and minced onions.

The modern version of this wholesome dish took root in the beginnings of the 18th century with the tale of King Louis XV arduous journey after a hunting trip for deer. All he could find were basic ingredients that were left in the empty larders. And like all hungry wise cooks decided to throw in all the ingredients and stew a dish. Served with toast bread and Comte cheese, it is not for the faint hearted.

Likewise, a second tale claims its modern origins in the kitchen of La Pomme d’Or where Nicolas Appert, the master of food preservation had a surprise visit from the Duke of Lorraine. At a such a short notice, he managed with the ingredients he had to whip up a marvellous treat for the King. Apparently, the King was astounded and immensely delighted with this new recipe that he decided to bring it home to Poland where he republished its contents, naming it fit for the Royals, “The Onion Soup a La Stanislas”.

½ a cup salted butter
2 tablespoon of olive oil
4 cups of onions
4 cans of Beef broth (10.5 Ounces)
2 tablespoon of sherry
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Loaves of French Bread as desired
4 slices of Provolone Cheese
2 slices of Swiss Cheese
¼ cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

French Onion Soup - Photograph- J. Kenji López
Photo by J. Kenji Lopez

How to make it!
Melt butter with olive oil in an 8 pot with medium heat. Add onions and continually stir until tender and translucent.Add beef broth, sherry and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes. Heat the oven.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and place one slice of bread on top. (bread may be broken into pieces if you prefer).

Layer each slice of bread with a slice of provolone, 1/2 slice diced Swiss and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Place bowls on cookie sheet and broil in the preheated oven until cheese bubbles and browns slightly.

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