Wednesday, April 20, 2011

French onion soup with a Tuscan twist

OK - so the photo does not do it justice. In fact it looks pretty awful. Good job it tastes totally yummy.

I call it a French onion soup with a Tuscan twist - because it has cured ham in it - and apparently that is a Tuscan touch to a traditional French recipe.

So here is the recipe and my economical cooking method.

French Onion Soup with a Tuscan twist

4 large white or yellow onions
1 red onion
2 rashers of pancetta cut into lardons
2 litres of chicken stock
1 large baking potato
3 tablespoons of dried parsley

Use a heavy bottomed, cast iron pan with a lid if you have one.

Chop the onions thinly, then fry in a tablespoon of olive oil, with some generous twists of pepper and the lardons.

This is not a lot of oil, but the fat from the lardons will help the frying, when it starts to dry out in the saucepan, add a bit of water rather than any more oil, cover and leave the onions to sweat for a couple of  minutes until they are starting to become translucent and soft.

Add the stock and bring to the boil - taste and season if you need to, but the pancetta is quite salty so go carefully if adding more salt.

Cut the potato into small cubes, less than a centimetre, without peeling, then add to the soup and just bring it briefly back to the boil.

Then turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with its lid - then cover again with a layer of aluminium paper.

Leave to stew in its own heat while you go off and do something more interesting - I went for a 5km walk with the dog and came back starving.

To serve, just heat up - the small cubes of potato will have cooked in the residual heat in the pan and their starchiness will thicken the soup, throw in the parsley, stir through and munch a bowlful with some home baked bread.
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