Thursday, July 31, 2008

English Onion Soup with Cheddar (and Bacon)

I've got a new recipe to share! Presenting my adaptation of Jamie Oliver's English Onion Soup. I can't say I am a great judge of onion soup or whatsoever since I hardly ever have onion soup but this is the best onion soup I have tasted. And the best thing is, I don't have to be French or English to make really good onion soup. (which means you probably can make it this good too) :D

Well, I can't exactly call it an onion soup now since I also added bacon to it, a great addition by the way. It should be onion bacon soup huh. Whatever. I have realised that bacon gives instant stock. Which is why I didn't make the stock base which the recipe required. It turned out really satisfactory. There is no dilution in flavour, the bacon made up for it. And texture wise, it is as thick as an onion soup can get without getting too sludgy. In a nutshell, Stella and I cleaned the whole pot. :)
English onion soup with bacon and cheddar- adapted from Jamie at home, cook your way to the good life.

Serves 2
You will need:

a good knob of butter
olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 large onions of various variety or equivalent, peeled and sliced
1/2 leek, trimmed, washed and sliced
2 middle rashers bacon, chopped to lardons
salt and pepper
0.9 litre water
4 slices of good quality stale bread, 2cm thick
A handful of grated cheddar cheese and herbs


Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil and the garlic into a thick-bottom, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Be stingy with the salt since bacon will add to the salt as well. Place the lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar; and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes- your onions should become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don't be tempted to speed this bit up.

At the last 5 minutes, add the bacon bits to the onions. When your onions and leeks and lovely and silky, bacons cooked, add the water. Bring to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes. You can skim off any fat off the surface it you like, but I prefer to leave mine on for good flavour.

Preheat oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning for soup. When it is perfect, add cheddar cheese to the bread and put it under grill or into the oven again to melt it. When it is half melted, take it out, sprinkle some dried herbs on it, then put it back until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it, make sure it doesn't burn! When cheese is bubbly, lift it out and put it onto soup. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a little. Beware: bread sponges alot of soup. Enjoy.

Thank you Jamie Oliver for inspiring the chef in me!


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