So whether you believe the pseudoscience or not, today is ‘officially’ Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. Taking into account the weather, debt, the time since Christmas, failed new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and the fact that bank holidays and celebration days seem to be a million miles away, we’re all supposed to be at our most melancholy today.
Now, there are many solutions for wrenching ourselves out of the dumps, and a shopping spree at Chanel would probably go quite a long way to putting a smile back on your face. But, my debit card isn’t quite that ready for action, and hell, it’s far too cold to go outside now the temperature is creeping lower and lower. My solution? Cook up a massive batch of onion soup. What could be more French than that?
Now I consider myself pas mal du tout in the kitchen, but even for those who aren’t, onion soup is pretty easy to master. Onions are the main ingredient, bien sur, and the key is in the slow cooking time, making them all caramelised and delicious. Bung a bit of cheesy toast on the top, whack it under the grill, and voila! Winter blues melt into submission like the Gruyère on top.
Now onion soup is a highly subjective undertaking, no two recipes seem to be the same. But here’s a general guide. You’ll need:
4 onions (more if small, and not the red kind)
1 litre of beef stock, though chicken works too, or at a push, good ol’ plain water
Salt and pepper
Slices of baguette (or any other bread you have to hand, slightly stale is quite ok)
Gruyère cheese, or any other good melting cheese you have to hand if you’re not fussy
Slice the onions and add to the melted butter in a pan on a heat that’s quite low – the key is to cook them slowly for 30 minutes or so (more if you have time), until they’re golden brown. Don’t for get to stir from time to time, or they’ll stick. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmering for 40 minutes to an hour, generally the longer you cook it for, the better it’ll be. Once it’s ready, ladle into bowls and add a toasted slice of bread covered in grated cheese. Traditionally it’s then finished under the grill to melt the cheese, but you can finish the toast separately if it’s easier. Bon appétit!