Darby's Destinations Luxury Travel - Italy

Easy European Recipes to Try at Home

Learn to make French Onion Soup and Spanish Paella from scratch

April 29, 2022

Recreating dishes you’ve tried on vacation is an immersive way to experience the joy of travel in the comfort of your own home. Get creative and try your hand at these two easy European recipes at home.

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a decadent starter that is far easier to produce than you might think. The soup has anti-inflammatory properties while the generous topping of Swiss cheese makes it moreish.

Here is an easy-to-follow recipe for French onion soup that will provide four servings.

1. Melt 50g of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based pot.

2. Add 6 thinly sliced onions and leave to saute with the lid on for 10 minutes.

3. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and allow to cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Take care not to burn them.

4. The caramelized onions should now be golden and soft. Add 4 finely chopped garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of regular flour and stir.

5. Add 1 cup of dry white wine and 5 cups of beef broth – homemade or store-bought.

6. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Serve with toasted croutons and a mound of grated gruyère cheese.

Spanish Paella

Originating from Valencia, paella is a light yet filling and healthy meal that is perfect to share. The colorful dish consists of fluffy rice, saffron, and vegetables cooked with your choice of chicken and/or seafood. All the ingredients are cooked in the same pan.

Short-grain Spanish rice such as Bomba, Bahia, or Calasparra is required for paella. Here is the full recipe for a Spanish paella that will serve six.

1. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat in a regular skillet. Add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper and 4 diced cloves of garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

2. Add 4 chopped tomatoes (a can will suffice), 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 pinch of saffron threads, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add ¼ cup of white wine. Cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add 4 chopped chicken fillets and 2 cups of Spanish rice. Cook for 5 minutes.

5. Add ¼ cup of chopped parsley (fresh or dried) and cook for 1 minute.

6. Add 5 cups of broth – homemade or store-bought – and mix it with the existing contents of the pan while bringing it to the boil.

From this point onwards, avoid stirring the rice in order to get that crispy base of paella called socarrat.

7. After 20 minutes of simmering on medium heat, add seafood and vegetables of your choice to the top of the mixture. Clams, shrimps, scallops, mussels, and calamari work perfectly and you can use frozen or fresh fish. In terms of vegetables, use whatever is in season or available in your pantry – peas, asparagus, and broccoli work particularly well.

Leave the paella to sit for 10 minutes before serving with fresh lemon and additional fresh herbs. The paella should be a distinctive golden hue thanks to the saffron with a crispy finish, providing that you resist the temptation to stir.

Have these dishes inspired you to experiment in the kitchen or book your next trip? Contact me to discuss your next trip to Europe.

Ready to embark on your own journey to the extraordinary?