Sometimes, one can be the loneliest of numbers. This week, I was left home alone. The house was empty. Quiet so. Familiar voices gone and replaced with stillness. Don’t mistake me though; I do enjoy the solitude. There is something oddly comforting in being able to indulge in ‘me time’, to cherish your thoughts and emotions in tranquil silence.
However, even for the shortest of periods, being alone can feel dispiriting. I often find myself craving the warmth, security and chaos of family. Cooking for one can also be a challenge. The fear of opening a baron fridge, fatigue of leftovers and the complex math needed to modify a recipe for a single serve can drive any sane person into the depressing arms of a bowl of cereal for dinner. After all, why spend hours preparing a dish – if you are dining alone?
There are few things more comforting than a bowl of French onion soup and this recipe is perfect for times when cooking for one is a struggle. Don’t be fooled by the title, you do not need to be a single lady to enjoy it. It makes just enough for one single indulgent serving.
The onions are softened and caramelised in garlic butter, then placed in a beef broth laced with red wine, balsamic and thyme and left to simmer. The soup is then finished off with a large slice of crusty baguette topped with a slather of dijon and melted gruyere. The result is a kind of simple, wholesome and nourishing soup, perfect for times when in need of comfort.
It’s understandable why the traditional French Onion soup has stood the test of time. So treat yourself by creating the recipe, it is utterly delicious. Solitude has never tasted so good.
- 3 white onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 500ml beef stock
- 200ml red wine
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 baguette, sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 50g gruyere cheese, sliced
- In a large frying pan, heat the butter, garlic and thyme until butter begins to sizzle.
- Add the sliced onions and cook until beginning to soften, brown and caramelize.
- Whilst the onions are softening, in a large stock pot, place the beef stock, wine and balsamic over medium heat heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the onions to the stock pot.
- Leave to simmer over medium to low heat for 15 minutes or until the red wine has cooked out and the onions are swollen with liquid.
- Pre-heat an oven to 180C (350F).
- On a lined baking tray, place the baguette slice.
- Slather the slice with the butter, dijon and then top with Gruyere. (You can also add extra thyme leaves, salt and pepper).
- Place in the oven and bake until the bread is browned, crisp and the Gruyere has melted.
- Remove the soup from the heat, season to taste and ladle. Serve the Gruyere baguette within the soup.