I’m thinking how to start this post without mentioning that the summer is ending and the Fall is just around the corner… Well, I just said it anyway, so I guess we can move on 🙂 Onion soup it’s not something I would eat quite often. Onion soup is a memory from my childhood, a very strange one and not linked to what my mom used to cook for us. I remember as a little girl I read a lot, I mean, A LOT. We always had books at home, and surprisingly, it was my dad buying them for us. Why surprisingly you might ask- because my dad doesn’t like reading books 😀 If they have pictures of birds (he’s crazy about birds), yes, he could have a look, otherwise not really. But we could ask for any book we wanted and he would buy it for us. Once I got a book about two little sisters, living in a French country side with their parents. I can barely remember what it was about, but I still remember the atmosphere- very dark, maybe even a bit too scary for a child, lots of rain, I remember the drawings from the book, two little girls wearing those cute, wooden shoes called sabot and… the onion soup.
That’s why when I decided to prepare this recipe, I already could see these pictures in my head the way you can see them today. Did you know that this soup is one of the oldest existing ever? Onion was considered as food for poor people, and it’ true that it was commonly used because it is very easy to grow. However, onion is very rich in vitamins and I can tell you that, when I was little my dad used to make a kind of syrup from onions, any time my sister and I were sick. You simply peel one or two onions, cut them into smaller pieces, place them in a glass jar and add two, three tablespoons of sugar. Leave it for the whole night and the next day you have a thick syrup, which helps to fight cough and first signs of cold. We used to hate the thing, as the taste is very strong. But now my sister makes it any time her own children are sick and she makes them drink it 😀 I do it from time to time too. It works. Try it of you feel like you’re getting sick. I’m sure it’s a better and more natural way of fighting the first symptoms of cold.
The recipe for this soup is very simple and not time consuming- unless you want to take some pictures 😉 Also, my version of onion soup is a bit lighter as I don’t use any cheese- in France it would be gruyere. This soup calls for some meat- and bacon is the best option, however if you’re vegetarian you can easily replace it with tofu or soy sausages. Just remember not to miss one of these ingredients, as it really makes a whole. Onion soup is very popular in France, but also in Italy. And my recipe is based on Italian version. I hope you will like it. Also I have to say that this soup was even more tasty the next day 🙂
Makes 4 servings, preparation time- 20 min max, cooking time- around 40 min,
- 6-7 big onions- usually around 700 g
- 3-4 big tomatoes
- 3-4 slices of bacon, for a vegetarian version tofu or soy sausages
- bread- as many slices as you want, toast it in the oven before serving the soup
- thyme, basil- chop everything in advance
- vegetable stock or simply water, however if you’re not vegetarian use beef stock, as this is what the tradition calls for ( I used a pot of 3 L)
- 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt and black pepper
In advance slice some bacon into smaller pieces and fry it. Bacon should be nicely crunchy. Leave it aside when ready.
Prepare the tomatoes. What I did was, I sliced them first and them crushed them in a glass bowl.
And now the onions. Well, you have to do it 🙂 Slice them as fast as you can!
In a big sauce pan heat the olive oil and fry gently the onions, until they get this nice golden color. Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Add the bacon and combine the ingredients. Fry for another 5-6 min and add the tomatoes, again combine everything and then add the stock or water. Season the soup according to your taste and add the basil leaves and thyme. Leave the soup on low heat for another 40 min- not longer, also try it at some point and make sure that the onions and tomatoes are tender. Stir it occasionally and if you notice that the soup thickens too much just add some water. After 40 min of cooking the vegetables are ready for sure. Serve hot with some toasted bread, and if you like cheese, just add a slice- do it at the very end when the soup is served on your plate. Bon Appetit!