Thursday, 26 April 2012
irish onion soup...
French onion soup made properly is a joy. But, this is not French onion soup. This one has an Irish accent and is all the better for it.
The most important element to a good onion soup is the proper caramelisation of the onions. Caramelising onions take at least thirty minutes of slow cooking of the onions over a medium high heat. This browning brings out the sweetness in them and that's what makes this soup so good. The chicken stock and cider give it a lighter finish than the traditional French version which usually lists beef stock and Cognac among its ingredients, but at the end of the day, it's just a different kind of delicious.
It's the bog-standard brown onions you want here, red onions will go a sickly grey colour as they cook. Thinly slicing the onions is a doddle if you do it with the shredding attachment of a food processor.
1kg brown onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp picked leaves of thyme
200ml Irish cider (MacIvors or another artisan cider is ideal)
Chicken stock fresh, cube or concentrate made up to 1.2 litres
1 nice sourdough or baguette, sliced
1 garlic clove, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
100g Mossfield or other hard Irish Cheese, grated
Heat the butter in a large pan and gently cook the onion and thyme until the onion is softened but not browned. This might take up to thirty minutes. Increase the heat slightly and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring now and again to stop them catching, until the onion becomes dark golden, sticky and caramelised. Add the cider and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Season. Simmer for 10 minutes.
While that's simmering, toast the bread, rub each slice with garlic, then drizzle with a little oil. Sprinkle with the cheese and grill until golden and bubbling. Serve the soup with the cheese croutons on top.