The origin of onion soup
According to legend, Louis XV is the originator of onion soup, as we eat it today. One night, while staying in his hunting lodge, the king set out in search of provisions to eat. Finding only onions, butter and champagne at his disposal, he ventured to make a soup. In the end, he liked the result so much that he made it one of his favorite meals.
Subsequently, onion soup became established at court, then popularized among the lower classes. Having become a poor man’s dish, simple but nourishing, it was particularly appreciated for its ability to mask the hints of alcohol. It is thanks to this that it acquired the nickname “drunkards’ soup”.
Note, however, that this story is frequently called into question by historians. Indeed, most believe that there is little chance that the king had to prepare his meal himself. Others object that Louis XV being reputed to be an excellent cook, the thing is entirely plausible. He was particularly famous (in addition to his title) for his “fanatic” omelettes, pâtés de mauviettes (a kind of lark) and his basil chicken. It would therefore be possible that Louis XV could have made this famous onion soup!
True or not, we will probably never know the truth. Still, this story, pleasant to tell, will surely interest your guests.
Did you know ?
If onion soup is very popular the day after a drunken evening, did you know that it is also the subject of a wedding ritual?
Indeed, tradition dictates that once the bride and groom have gone to bed, their witnesses come to wake them up to serve them onion soup in a chamber pot.
The location of the wedding night being kept secret, the first part of the game consists of finding the bride and groom. The tasting is, subsequently, an opportunity for the bride and groom to spend a special moment with their loved ones.
An original activity for a wedding!
Onion soup recipe
Preparation: 5 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
For 4 people
- 800 g onions
- 100g butter
- 2 tbsp. tablespoon of flour (optional)
- 1 l of beef broth
- 8 slices of bread
- grated cheese
- salt pepper
Peel and slice the onions.
Melt a knob of butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions, let them brown for 5 minutes. Be careful, they must not darken.
Optional step: sprinkle 2 tbsp. of flour on the onions, mix well.
Pour in 1 l of lukewarm beef broth. If you used flour, stir well so as not to leave any lumps. Add salt and pepper, then bring everything to a boil.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Pour the soup into a deep dish or individual bowls.
Place a few slices of lightly toasted bread on a baking sheet, covered with grated Gruyere cheese.
Turn the oven on to grill mode, brown the toast for a few minutes. Serve with the soup.
The flour helps thicken the soup, giving it a smoother consistency. However, it is not necessary if you want a lighter version.
The trick that changes everything
For a flavorful soup, it is important that the onions are finely sliced and well caramelized. First of all, because the smaller a food is cut, the more its flavors will be diffused. Have you ever noticed that this type of cutting makes food tastier? This is thanks to the fact that the finer a food is cut, the greater its surface area will be, therefore the more its aromas will be released. Moreover, we call this the principle of the exchange surface. Long story short: the more flavor you want, the smaller you cut!
Also, it is important that your onions are nicely browned before deglazing them with the broth. This will bring out their flavor to the fullest. Remember that a clear onion soup is a bland soup. A real onion soup must have a pretty amber color, obtained by fairly thorough coloring. Be careful, do not let the onions burn, this would give an unpleasant taste to the broth. So cook everything over low heat, checking regularly.
You now know all the secrets of this light and comforting recipe.