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Easy to make French onion soup

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Pots & Pans With Hajiya Ramatu Usman Dorayi

Some call it comfort food, while others rely on this quick-fix for dinner. Regardless, soups are fundamental to cuisines all over the globe due to the low maintenance nature of their preparation and the flexibility of ingredients that can be used in preparation. Broths and bases are diverse in composition such that a good soup, prepared with care, can appease nearly any palette. Thinking back to fond memories of childhood days, a bountiful fixing of fresh vegetables and thick broth was a cure-all that warmed both tummy and soul. Beyond taste, soup is functional, as virtually anything in the pantry can be used in the creation of a hearty bowl.
Simple in nature, but full of depth and richness in flavour, a staple of French culinary repertoire is the appropriately named French onion soup. The quintessential meal of the people, French onion soup is made of easily obtained, basic ingredients, primarily a rudimentary beef broth and some onions. Dating back to Roman times, this dish was a pauper's meal due to the readily available ingredients it consists of, all of which are easy to grow or find in the supermarket, maybe even hidden in the pantry. The version we know and love, characterized by bubbling gruyère and onions caramelized to perfection, originated in eighteenth century France. Science is integral to preparation, whether or not we are aware. Caramelization is the key process in ensuring the bold flavours of a finely prepared crock of French onion soup. Many chefs emphasize the necessity of a long preparation over steady heat, such that the layers of onion can undergo a chemical change and give off their succulent sugars.
To bring out even more profound flavour, liquids must be drawn out of the onion in a process known as sweating. This is done by tossing the onions in a coating of fat, for instance bacon fat, olive oil or butter, covering the onions in salt, and finally sealing the pan to cook over low heat. As a final addition, some juices can be used to deglaze the pan and draw out any stubborn flavours that linger. As mouthwatering as such a concoction may sound, the real treat for most is the generous helping of crusty bread and flavourful cheese placed atop the broth to adorn the base. Oven-safe ramekins can be used to place the soup under the broiler. This immense heat and proximity to the flame ensures a crispy gruyere crust, fit for both pauper and prince. To expedite the process without sacrificing the complexity of the flavours, try a demi-glace. This version by D'artagnan is the result of nearly two days of slow cooking to perfection. A staple to fine cooking, a demi-glace can be used as the base for a multitude of stocks and sauces.
French onion soup is a versatile meal such that it can be served with rare French cheeses for a fine dining occasion or balance out a cheeseburger and fries for a pub-friendly foodie occasion. What is consistent however, is the heat that warms your whole body, bold onion flavour that is both sweet and salty: a perfect hybrid, the crunch of crusty crouton, and the nuisance of trying to eat melted cheese in a well-mannered fashion.

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