While I don't remember ever seeing the 'traditional' onion seller in France, cycling around with strings of onions around his neck, onion soup is one of the all time classics of French cooking and a tradition you will se very often. In my opinion it should not be over-sophisticated.

If you stick to the basic recipe below to start with and appreciate how much you enjoy it, then later perhaps find a more complicated recipe - and see how it compares. Simple is good!

Ingredients and recipe

  1. Fry some onion, perhaps one onion per person, on a low heat in some butter
  2. When the onions have softened nicely and just starting to brown, sprinkle a little flour on them and stir in well
  3. Add some stock, ideally beef stock, and sir to thicken - add it little by little, stirring in well after each addition, heating over a low heat
  4. Add salt and pepper, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cover. You might like to add a dash of red wine, port or brandy, according to your preferences
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes
  6. To serve, put a piece of toasted bread in the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup on top
  7. Sprinkle a handful of gruyere or parmesan on top of the soup at the time of serving