Our latest stop on Traveling Tastebuds takes us to beautiful Osoyoos, BC and 15 Park Bistro for French Onion Soup. Osoyoos is located in the Southern Okanagan Valley in a unique area that really has it all – desert, mountains, beaches, Canada’s warmest lake and vineyards. With mild temperatures, it has even become a haven for Canada’s snowbirds while people of all ages enjoy the outdoor activities that the area has to offer.
If you are looking for a place to dine with a view of beautiful Lake Lake Osoyoos, check out 15 Park Bistro. The restaurant just went through a complete renovation in 2021 and looks more modern and spacious. 15 Park Bistro uses regional ingredients and has a locally inspired menu. The wine menu is heavy on Okanagan varietals for you to sample. Seasonally inspired BC craft beer and the cider are also popular beverages.
Executive Chef Nick Atkins put together a mouthwatering food menu too. There is something for everyone including a kids menu. Why not start with 15 Park Bistro French Onion Soup? If you can’t make the trip out to Osoyoos, Chef Atkins shared the recipe for the restaurant’s famous French Onion Soup with us. It takes time to prepare, but it’s worth it!
Serves 4-6 people, Takes 3-4 hours to make
For the French Onion Soup Base:
¼ lb. Unsalted Butter
About 6 Large (4lb.) Yellow Onions, peeled and julienned with the grain of the onion (opposite of making onion rings, if that makes sense)
2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
½ Tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
8 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup All-Purpose Flour, sifted
¼ cup Red Wine
2 Litres Strong Beef Stock (The soup is only as good as the stock, so purchasing a flavourful artisan beef stock or making one from scratch is ideal)
1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp. Sherry Vinegar
For the Garnish:
16-24 (1”x1”) Dry Bread Croutons to Garnish (Preferably Herb Focaccia)
1 ½ cups Swiss, Gouda or Cave aged Gruyère Cheese, grated (the better the cheese, the better the French Onion Soup)
1 Tbsp. Chopped garden herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley)
Pinch Grated Parmesan Cheese
Caramelize the onions.
In a large pot, melt the butter on high heat. Avoid browning the butter by adding onions before the butter is completely melted. Season with Kosher Salt to draw out the moisture in the onions. Stir frequently and cook for about 15 minutes. You may notice that the onions have become translucent and some water has leached out. Keep the temperature high and the stirring frequent until the moisture has evaporated and the onions are starting to colour/caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pot. (Brown colour is good, black is too far, if the onions get too dark the soup will be bitter. You may add some water to deglaze the pot if the onions happen to colour accidentally).
Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to caramelize for at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add small amounts of water (1 Tbsp.) if the onions happen to stick to the pot.
Once the onions are at a deep brown colour and all of the moisture has evaporated. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sift in the flour and stir aggressively to avoid lumps. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Deglaze the pot.
Add the red wine and allow the liquid to lift all the sticky onions and starch from the bottom of the pot. Add the beef stock and herbs and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours.
Finishing the soup.
After the soup has simmered, add the sherry vinegar and taste the soup. Add additional salt if needed and remove the bay leaves.
Garnishing the French Onion Soup.
Using oven-proof bowls or a large casserole dish, ladle soup into dishes. Cover with the bread croutons and sprinkle with cheese. Put under the broiler for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Carefully take out of the oven and sprinkle chopped herbs and grated parmesan. Enjoy!!