The modern version of French onion soup that we know today is beef broth based, most likely emerging from adaptions of French bouillon recipes over the years. However if you look in the cookbooks from the 1600s, such as La Varenne’s Cookery, this beef based version of French onion soup isn’t found. What we do find in historic cookbooks instead, is variations of onion based soups, some made with a pea based puree, some using capers for additional flavour, others verjus or vinegar.
RELATED RECIPES: Kreacher’s French Onion Soup recipe | Harry Potter
This particular soup is an interpretation from my rough (Google based) translation from a recipe found in “François Pierre de la Varenne – L’Ecole de ragouts ou le chef-d’euvre du cuisinier, du patissier, et du confiturier, où est enseignée la manière d’apprêter toute sorte de viande, de faire toute sorte de patisseries et de confitures” from 1668.
While the recipe has simple ingredients, the flavour is delicate yet tasty.
- 1kg brown onions
- 20g butter
- ~2-3 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp nutmeg
- Peel the onions and use a mandolin to slice the onions very fine.
- Melt the butter in a large pot.
- Add in the onion, and cook until transparent (about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the onions don't burn.
- Add boiling water to the pot, so it comes up about level to the top of the onions.
- Stir in the breadcrumbs, and quickly stir in the egg yolks (these ingredients are used to help thicken the soup).
- Stir in the nutmeg.
- Cover the pot and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, before serving.