Soupe à Oignons
You ever heard of the Hiver Noir? That’s the Black Winter, and it’s a thing in Paris, especially of the 19th century. When any attempt at snow was turned into a blackish slush, curtsy of the the myriad coalburners keeping the beautiful yet airy Parisian apartments from turning its inhabitants to ice. Le hiver noir, that’s when the cold enters your bones and won’t leave even under the warmest blanket. When hail and wind and an absent sun grind even the last of your morals down to grit and muck. The French, however, ingenious people as they are, naturally have a recipe against hiver noir: La Soupe à Oignons. Le Hiver Noir, I’m certain he visits not just in Paris, he sure is a cosmopolitan, so here’s the trick, now in a genuinely new version with lots of ingredients from producers from around where I live.
What you’ll need
Serves two on a cold December evening.
- Two big onions
- A large spoonful of flour
- A large spoonful of fresh butter
- 1dl of Cuvée des Archevêques
- 3dl water
- 1dl fresh cream
- Sea salt
- Grated conté, aged 12 months
- Four slices of baguette
How to cook it
Chop the onion into thin slices and brown with the flour in butter for at least 10mins at low temperature. Deglaze with the wine and add the water, cook for another 10 minutes, then cream and salt and keep warm.
Preheat the oven with the grill function at maximum temperature.
Roast the bread in a wide frying pan.
In soup bowls, place a slice of bread at the bottom and generously sprinkle with cheese. Add the soup and place another slice of bread on the top that you generously sprinkle with grated cheese. Grill for 5 minutes, serve immediately.
How to eat it
Hot and steaming and a glass of stout apple cider from autumn, if you’re still feeling like a frozen fish stick, add a sip of calvados to your cider. I promise this will work wonders on a bleak day.
This is Les Poissonchat’s Wondrous Advent Calendar! Advent calendars are a huge tradition where I come from: you make little gifts for your loved ones every day until Christmas Day, fourandtwenty little surprises. The advent calendars come in beautifully old fashioned prints on cardboard, with extra glitter, and each day there’s a paper door waiting for you to pry open. Others are more elaborate, pretty baskets filled with twenty four numbered parcels, decorated with red velvet ribbons. The one I’m making for you this season is altogether a different one, and, quite obviously, it’s about beloved France, Christmas in France, and after all, what it takes to celebrate a proper French Christmas.