With all this snow I definitely need something warm and comforting, and nothing gives you a big warm hug quite like a hot bowl of delicious soup with melty cheesy toasts – delicious!
French onion soup is a classic and doesn’t actually need too many ingredients, it just takes a little bit of time, as you need to cook down the onions for ages. I mean ages, like 50 minutes. You cook the onions for so long they melt completely down and turn into a big brown caramelised ball. But that’s the flavour zone right there, that’s what creates the deep, golden brown colour and gives the sweet, meaty flavour. Trust me, do not rush the onions!
Recipe (serves 4)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
6 large white onions, or 8 – 10 small onions
2 cloves of garlic
A few sprigs of fresth thyme
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
250ml dry white wine
1 litre of good quality beef stock
150g Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Slice all the onions and put into the pan, stirring well to coat them all in the butter and olive oil. Cook with the lid on for 10 minutes to soften, then add in the garlic and thyme and stir well. Leave to cook again for another 30 minutes on a medium-low heat, stirring a few times so they don’t catch or burn; they will start to reduce right down and go caramel brown. After 30 minutes or so, stir in the sugar and cook until they reach a deep brown.
Stir in the flour until all mixed in, then pour in the white wine stirring well, let it bubble for a few minutes to cook out the alcohol, then pour in the beef stock. It shouldn’t be thick, but the flour will help it have a nice velvety consistency so it’s not just like water. Leave to gently simmer on a low heat until needed.
Now prepare the croutons. Heat up your grill. Slice the baguette into 1 inch slices and pop onto a baking tray, then grill for 3 minutes each side to toast up. Slice up the Gruyère cheese and grate the Parmesan and top the toasts with the cheese. Season with black pepper and pop under the grill again until melted.
To serve, ladle your soup into bowls, then pop on 2 cheesy croutons onto each. For an extra finishing touch, sprinkle on more Gruyère, then put back under the grill.
Serve straight away…and with some extra croutons if needed!