French Onion Soup

Transform a simple soup into a spectacular dish with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. The wonderful sweet and savoury flavours of the soup pair to perfection with toasted cheesy bread.

Cooking PotMETHOD

  1. Caramelise the onions:

    In a thick-bottomed pan, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil, add the chopped onions and stir to coat them fully.

    Fry the onions, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until they have softened.

    Increase the heat to medium high. Add the remaining olive oil and the butter and cook, stirring often, until the onions start to brown - about 15 more minutes.

    Sprinkle with sugar (to help with the caramelisation) and 1 tsp of salt. Continue to cook until the onions are well browned, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

    Add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute more.

  2. Add the wine and stir around, picking up all the brown onion pieces.

  3. Add the stock, bay leaves and thyme. Beef stock is traditional, but you could use a vegetable stock if preferred. Heat until the mixture is simmering, then put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about half an hour.

  4. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Remove the bay leaves. Add brandy if you wish.

  5. While the soup is cooking, cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or foil and preheat the oven to 220c, gas mark 7.

    Brush both sides of the baguette slices lightly with olive oil, place on the baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Turn the toasts over, and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Emmental or Gruyère work best – you need a hard, strong flavoured cheese which melts well. Return the toasts to the oven when it's close to serving time and bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

  6. To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and carefully place one cheesy toast onto the top of each bowl of soup.

    Bon appétit!

What you will need

Serves: 4-6

Preparation: 10 mins

Cooking: 70 mins

6 large Albert Bartlett onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 litres of stock (beef or alternative)
125ml dry white wine
2 bay leaves
Thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (more to taste)
Black pepper
2 tbsp brandy (optional)
8 slices (1 inch thick) baguette
200g grated Emmental cheese