Down in Schull, West Cork there is the most amazing French café called Gwens. If you have ever seen the film Chocolat you have a pretty good picture of what this place is like. Gwens started off as a chocolate shop on the main street of Schull selling amazing little homemade chocolates, cakes and ice-cream. They since moved into the famous Courtyard building where they have expanded to serving breakfast, lunch and also wine in the wine bar they have since opened. Everything here is amazing and so authentically French. When you go here, especially at the weekends it is buzzing with people coming in for their sweet fix, often a coffee and an almond croissant or a chocolate scone. I am incapable of passing this place without popping in for a few of their chocolates!
The last time that I was here I had the most amazing French Onion soup. It was so comforting, tasty and actually quite filling. I decided to try to re-create it and my recipe below is for a more traditional dark French onion soup, to copy Gwen’s as pictured above try using white wine instead of red. This dish is definitely worth a go!
Ingredients (serves 2):
4 medium/large onions (sliced)
1 cloves garlic crushed
50ml red wine (or white if you want it like Gwens)
One beef stock cube in 500ml boiling water (the jelly stock cubes are best)
1 fresh bay leaves (or 3 dried bay leaves)
1 baguette (I already had a ciabatta in the cupboard so used this instead)
100g sliced Comte or Gruyere cheese (I used Gubbeen as I had it already)
- Heat the butter in a large, heavy pot. Gently sweat the onion and garlic for about 15 minutes. Make sure they don’t go brown. Put on a lid to let the onions sweat. You want them very soft (almost translucent) and slightly carmelised.
- Mix the stock cube with the water , add the wine, thyme and bay leaves and throw in to the pot. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or so with the lid on. Stirring every few minutes.
- Traditional French onion soup has the little toasted bits of bread placed on top of the soup with cheese on top and put under the grill for a few mins to melt. (I had a ciabatta already so I used this and made a cheese toasty-which is why mine looks so less glamorous than Gwens… it still tasted amazing though!)
- When your cheesy bread is melted, remove and serve on the side with your soup.