French onion soup appears on many five star restaurant menus and never for under $10 a serve.
Home made French onion soup costs well under $1 per serve and done well, this is real honest peasant style eating.
It's the ultimate in frugal too as it uses just a handful of easily accessible ingredients, none of which are costly.
It's worth using lots of onions, caramelising them well in butter, and adding good quality beef stock for a tasty result.
Mimi's French Onion Soup
1 kilo onions, peeled and sliced (try halving lengthwise from stem to root THEN peel each half, then slice radially following the natural lines on the outside of the onion)
1 tablespoon dried thyme or two sprigs fresh (I used some from my garden)
8 cups beef stock (or water and stock cubes)
3 tablespoons cornflour mixed to a paste with a little water
Seasoning to taste
One slice toasted bread per serve, cut to fit the bowls that you're serving the soup in
1/2 cup grated cheese for sprinkling on the toast
Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a dutch oven (heavy oven safe saucepan), melt the butter over a medium high hotplate, and add the onions and thyme. Stir regularly until the onions start to brown. Place in the oven without the lid, and cook for 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes.
When the onions have caramelised to a deep brown, remove the saucepan from the oven and replace on the stovetop over a hotplate heated to high.
Add a cup of the beef stock, and scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan to release all the flavoursome scrapings. Stir well.
Add the rest of the stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the cornflour paste and stir until the soup thickens slightly.
Slow cooker method
Caramelise the onions in the slow cooker over 2-3 hours on HIGH or until dark golden brown. Add the other ingredients and proceed as above.
Repeat the steps as for the stovetop/oven method above, but keep the pot on the stovetop, stirring every 10-15 minutes to prevent the onions sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Proceed as above once the onions are caramelised.
While the soup is simmering, top the toast with a little of the grated cheese and grill until it melts. Set aside until the soup is ready.
To serve, ladle the soup into the bowls and float the cheese toast on the surface.
To eat, use your spoon to cut of pieces of the broth laden cheese toast and scoop into your mouth.