Staying in a British run hotel during my week in Les Menuires, the food was generally less French and less spectacular than I had anticipated. Lunches tended to be a fairly rushed, slope-side beer and croque-monsieur (a combination which is not to be sniffed at, I should add) and dinners were often very English and, frankly, quite bland. But towards the end of the week when my thigh muscles were refusing to snowplough any longer than a couple of hours, we began to choose our lunch venues more carefully and it was during these few days that I experienced the foodie highlights of my week. These included a variety of crepes, a beautiful onion soup, a rib-sticking tartiflette and a stunningly presented selection of cheese and cured meats.
It would be silly to try and recreate the latter here in Scotland as we simply do not have the same selection of cured meats but the former three are dishes I want to introduce into my repertoire, starting with the soup.
In The Kitchen Diaries Nigel Slater recommends roasting the onions before simmering them in wine and stock. I liked this idea but, much like my garlic butter, I wanted a little more kick and so added an extra raw onion to the mixture. The result was a rich and oddly meaty soup which I was tremendously pleased with.
French Onion Soup
(served 5 as a starter)
5 medium onions
30g salted butter
200ml white wine
1.5 – 2 litres vegetable stock
French bread, sliced on the diagonal
100g Gruyère cheese, melted
Preheat the oven to 200oC.
Peel four of the onions and trim ends. Cut in half lengthways and place in baking tray. Dot with butter and season.
Place tray in oven and roast for 30 mins turning occasionally until the onions are golden brown.
Let the onions cool slightly then chop roughly.
Add the roasted onions and the white wine to a pan. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid by half.
Add the stock and the remaining onion (peeled and sliced thinly). Simmer for 30 minutes. Season very carefully.
Toast the slices of baguette. Ladle soup into bowls and carefully place a slice of bread on the top of each. Sprinkle liberally with cheese and place under the grill.
Serve once the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Not very traditional but I put extra grated cheese on the table to be stirred into the soup as and when we pleased. 🙂