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Monday, December 6, 2010

French onion soup with oregano, toast and emmentaler

Don't know about you, but when we think about the "soup, glorious soup" hum, this is the soup that comes to our minds. We first tried it when our friend Vlad suggested it, at Philippe Bistro in Bucharest, and we were charmed by it. Since then, we also sampled it in a place called Die Theke in Germany and also decided to give a shot at making it. We added a touch of oregano to the original recipe and were surprised of how smoothly its flavor blends in. Takes about two hours and a half to prepare and cook it, but your efforts will be kingly rewarded. 

More French goodies:
Oeufs Cocotte

Ingredients (serves 4):
  • about 750 g onions (as diverse as you can get them: red and white onions, banana shallots etc)
  • a big leek (200-300 g)
  • 2 liters of good, fresh vegetable stock (example on how to make here)
  • 2 big handfuls of dried oregano (5 g)
  • 6-7 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 thick slice of butter (about 10 g)
  • 1 little knob of butter (about 5 g)
  • some salt
  • some olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper (we used mixed pepper colors)
  • 4 slices of fresh square bread for toast (or 8 if you have big soup bowls)
  • 200 g Emmentaler (or some other cheese with 45% fat)
  • some Worcester sauce (or some red wine vinegar)

Get all the onions (including leek) and garlic ready. Peel the garlic cloves and set them aside. 

Peel the onions and finely cut them. We don't recommend you to do this if you don't have a food processor, a kitchen robot or some other way to automatically slice and cut onions. If you slowly do it by hand your eyes may sting a lot! After it's ready, put it all in a bowl of cold water while you keep preparing. It will protect your eyes.
Finely chop the garlic cloves. Heat the thick slice of butter in a frying pan. Add a gurgle of olive oil and the garlic. Add half a handful of oregano (a quarter of all the oregano reserved for this), 3-4 pinches of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Stir everything around for a couple of minutes:
Prepare the pot (or pots, if you don't have a big one) in which you'll prepare the soup. Put half a handful of salt and a gurgle of olive oil in the pot. Open the heat source on medium intensity under the pot. Add the contents of the frying pan into the pot:
Add all the chopped onion, removing it from the water, without over-draining them:
Stir once, then put a lid over the pot, leaving it slightly misplaced:
Leave the heat source opened on low intensity (1 out of 4). Leave the onions to cook slowly for 1 hour. Slower cooking means more flavor so be patient ;). There's no need to watch the pot or to stir too frequently. After one hour remove the the lid. The onions should be golden and translucent:
 Add the vegetable stock. Add all of the remaining oregano (1 and a half big handfuls). Turn the heat up, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat again and let it simmer for 20 minutes:
While the soup cooks, finely grate or chop the emmentaler cheese. When the 20 minutes are up, turn off the heat. Taste the soup and season it (check if it needs more salt etc). Let it rest. In the meanwhile get the bread, put a little of the remaining butter on each slice (both sides) and toast them:
While they're toasting put the soup into four bowls. Put the bowls on the oven's tray. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius or high (not highest) heat.
Take the bread out of your toaster (or grill or whatever device you used to toast it):
Put a slice (or two if the soup bowl is big enough) into each bowl, placing the bread like a lid. You may tuck in the bread corners to fit perfectly. Make sure the toast touches the liquid.
Add the emmentaler on top of the toast in each bowl:
Push the tray in the oven and let it bake for 5 minutes. Open the oven, get the tray a little bit out of it and add a sprinkle of Worcester sauce to each bowl:
When you're done with the sauce, the bowls should look like this:
Push the tray back into the oven and let it all cook for a couple more minutes. Then, get them out and put them on the table to cool. The soup is ready, dig in!


  1. Congratulations dudes!!!
    My attempt at onion soup failed miserably, but yours looks really great! Worchestershire sauce rules, btw!

  2. this soup is on my to do list for a while now :) btw, in a small bistro near Cannes they served it with a small bowl filled with port wine and a raw egg yolk in it, for you to mix in the hot soup

  3. We really, really recommend that you move on with it and do it - the taste of home-made soup beats anything we've come across in restaurants so far.

    But the raw yolk&wine combo sounds interesting. I'm curious if you'll try it with or without :)


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