The great, the truly great Michel Roux died yesterday. Suzi and I have enjoyed his books and recipes for years. I posted this recipe just a year ago. Now, Suzi and I are sitting in our New York City apartment just trying to wait out the coronavirus epidemic. We hope you are all well. I honestly think that onion soup is one of the best medicines you can enjoy. If not for your body, then for your soul is stressful times.
If you say “French Onion Soup” who can resist? Not me. Not any time of year. From famed French chef Michel Roux comes this Norman version of the classic. There are the familiar chicken stock and cheese and baguette, but the surprise here is apple cider. If you are a traditionalist, you could use white wine, but at least once in your life, experiment with cider.
About the measurements here: I’ve left them in his original metric. If you want to cook with precision, you really need to go metric. Suzi and I use a metric scale and we do measure liquid in ml.
I did convert oven temps from Centigrade to Fahrenheit. I’m a kind, practical man.
Now, go find some cider and onions.
Normandy Onion Soup with Cider
Yield: serves 4
- 70g butter
- 400g onions, rinsed in cold water and finely sliced
- 250ml medium cider
- 1 small bouquet garni (thyme sprig, bay leaf and a few parsley stalks, tied together)
- 30g plain flour
- 650ml chicken stock
- 12-16 slices of baguette, cut at an angle, about 3mm thick
- 70ml double cream
- 30g Gruyere, mature Cheddar or Comte, grated
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt 40g of the butter in a fairly deep frying pan or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat for 2 minutes, then increase the heat slightly and cook until lightly golden. Add 150ml of the cider and the bouquet garni and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Melt the remaining 30g butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook over a gentle heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk, to make a blond roux. Add the stock and bring to the boil, still stirring with the whisk. Cook over a gentle heat for 15 minutes.
Add the onion and cider mixture to the thickened stock and simmer for another 15 minutes, skimming the surface every few minutes. Remove the bouquet garni and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste; keep hot.
Meanwhile, for the croutes, preheat the grill to high or the oven to 350°. Toast the slices of baguette under the hot grill or in the oven for a few minutes until golden on both sides. (If using the oven rather than the grill to gratinee the soup, increase the setting to 400°.)
To serve, pour the remaining cider equally into 4 warmed ovenproof bowls, then divide the onion soup between them. Spoon the cream on top and lay the croutes on the surface. Sprinkle with the Gruyere and place under the grill (or in the oven) for a few minutes until gratineed. Serve at once, while piping hot.
Source: Cheese: The Essential Guide by Michel Roux [Quadrille, 2017]