I’m standing in my kitchen in front of the cutting board and crying. It’s not one or two tiny tears slowly sliding down my cheek. No, my face is streaked with tears. Sobbing, I am looking at my husband. He’s staring at me with a blank expression on his face. Finally, after a few long seconds he’s shaking his head and silently going away. I’m wiping my tears, sighing and turning back to my cutting board…
…continuing slicing the onions.
I cry when I slice and dice onions. Almost every single time. It doesn’t matter if the onions are yellow, sweet or purple, I still cry and yet, I love onions. The aroma of freshly diced white cubes hitting bubbling and foamy melted butter on the pan, starting to crackle and sizzle and talk to me is intoxicating. It’s my favourite smell in the world. Well, that is until I smell garlic swimming in the smoking oil; or until I smell the spicy cinnamon meddling with apples in an apple pie; or bacon frying; or…
There’s a funny story behind this soup. We had a department lunch at work and there were burgers served – lots of meat patties, buns, and platters of condiments and fixings. Big bowls of relish, hot peppers, plates of lettuce, tomatoes and thinly sliced onions. After the lunch we wrapped the plates in plastic wrap and put in the fridge. For the next few days, every time we opened the fridge, we were met with the pungent onion aroma. Finally, after a few days my colleague and I decided it was time for the onions to go. We got the plate out, unwrapped it and saw all those thin, translucent white arches. “Oh,” she said, “you could make an Onion Soup with that.” And just like that, I got a container and packed all those onions to take home.
If you have sliced onions, the soup is actually pretty easy to make. I don’t want to call it French Onion Soup since I did not follow any particular recipe. The idea is that the onions are caramelized in a large pot for a very long time, maybe 30-40 minutes and when you think that the onions are fully done, then cook them another 10-15 minutes. Trust me, the soup will be better! Then add some stock and cook until all the flavours meld together. Season with salt, pepper and serve with Cheese Toasts.
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon + more if needed
Onion, halved and then thinly sliced – 5 cups
Dry thyme – 1 tablespoon
Bay leaves – 2
Vermouth – 1/2 cup (optional)
Chicken stock – 8 cups
Salt, pepper to taste
- Add butter and oil into a large heavy pot and melt.
- Add onion and cook on medium or medium-low speed for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally and making sure that the onion doesn’t burn.
- You may want to add a bit more oil if the mixture starts to dry.
- Add thyme and cook for another 15 minutes or until the onion is extremely soft, brown and sweet.
- Add vermouth if using and cook for 2-3 minutes until it evaporates.
- Add the stock, bay leaves, salt, pepper and cook for another 15 minutes on medium-low until all the flavours come together.
- Serve with cheese toasts.
– I found the soup a bit too thin for my liking, so I mixed 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with half a cup of hot broth to form a slurry and then added it back to the soup. It does not affect flavour, but it makes the texture slightly thicker.
– Onions are sweet naturally, so the soup will be pretty sweet unless you salt and pepper according to your taste.
– Please, please cook onions for a very long time!
– You can make this soup vegan by using only oil to cook the onions and vegetable stock.