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An Onion Soup Recipe From 1801

An Onion Soup Recipe from 1801

This recipe for onion soup is out of John Mollard’s 1801 cookbook, “The Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined”.

  • 4 oz. Butter
  • 4 tbsps. Flour
  • 8 midsized Onions of choice
  • Salt
  • 3 qts. Beef Stock
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 cup Cream
  • Frazer’s Mixed Spices (Black Pepper, Allspice, Nutmeg, Clove)
  • Bread

Start by placing 4 ounces of butter and about 4 tablespoons of flour in a large skillet. Keep it stirred well while it browns so it doesn’t burn.

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Next add about 8 midsized onions, peeled and sliced very thin. Any onions will do, white, yellow, sweet. I like onions, so I’m using a lot of red onion which is the stronger flavor. Red onions were used in the 18th century probably more often in medicine, but they were used in cooking as well. You can also mix your onions to get a unique flavor.

Season your onions with a little salt and stir until the onions are soft and have begun to caramelize. The longer you reduce them, the sweeter and more flavorful they will become.

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Bring about 3 quarts of beef stock to boil and add the onions to the pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

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While your onions are simmering, you need to prepare the rest of the ingredients. This version is a cream of onion soup, so we need to prepare what is called a liaison. Gently whip together 4 egg yolks and a cup of cream with just a little bit of salt, then add to the onion soup.

At this point, this is a very basic, plain onion soup. You could add a lot of things to this. I’m going to season this one with a little bit of our Mrs. Frazer’s Mixed Spices.

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This is an authentic blend of spices from an 18th century recipe. It contains black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. This will be a great addition. You could also add other things like vegetables or other kinds of spices.

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Onion soup was routinely served over a piece of bread. Sometimes that bread was toasted as we are doing, other times it was fried. After another 20 minutes this is ready to serve.

Transcript of Video:

You’re going to love this episode today. We went back in the archives and we got an episode on French Onion Soup we did several years ago. It’s a great one and we are working on so much right now. We’ve got lots of great episodes coming up, bonus topics, the next season of 18th Century Cooking starts next week, so stay tuned. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

In a previous episode, we did a dish, Fried Onion Rings. Something that’s thought to be purely modern, but it actually came from John Mollard’s 1801 cookbook, “The Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined”. Today we’re going to be making another one of John Mollard’s recipes. A recipe for 18th century Onion Soup. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas. Townsend and Son.

We start by placing 4 ounces of butter in our spider along with about 4 tablespoons of flour. I’ll want to keep this stirred well while it browns so it doesn’t burn. Next I’ll add 8 midsized onions, peeled and sliced very thin. Any onions will do, white, yellow, sweet. I like onions, so I’m using a lot of red onion which is the stronger flavor. Red onions were used in the 18th century probably more often in medicine, but they were used in cooking as well.

I’ll season this with a little salt. I’ll continue to stir this until the onions are soft and they have begun to caramelize. The longer I reduce them, the sweeter and more flavorful they will become.

We need about 3 quarts of beef stock on the fire here and we’re going to add our onions.

We’re going to let this simmer about 30 minutes. While this is simmering, I’m going to prepare the rest of our ingredients. Onion soup was routinely served over a piece of bread. Sometimes that bread was toasted as we are doing, other times it was fried.

In addition, Mollard’s version of the onion soup here is a cream of onion soup, so I have prepared what’s called a liaison, it’s 4 egg yolks, a cup of cream and a little bit of salt and we’re going to add this to the soup. Mollard’s onion soup here is just a very plain basic onion soup. You could add a lot of things to this. I’m going to season this one with a little bit of our Mrs. Frazer’s Mixed Spices. This is an authentic blend of spices from an 18th century recipe. It contains black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. This will be a great addition. You could also add other things like vegetables or other kinds of spices.

After 20 minutes this is looking wonderful. I’m going to dish some out.

This smells wonderful. Let’s give it a quick try.

Mmm. This is really, really good. You’re going to really enjoy this. It’s got a wonderful medley of flavors. The wonderful sweet onions. You can get all those wonderful spice flavors in there. The texture of the bread. This is really great.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes. I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

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