This soup should definitely be a winter staple. If you’re ever cooking for people who are caught in the rain or are exposed to the wintery elements in any way and need warming from within, this is the soup that will let them know that the world actually isn’t a dreary, horrible place and that someone loves them. That someone is you, equipped with this recipe. A French friend told be once that this soup is perfect for heartache and hangovers which means it can be twice as necessary as one rarely exists without the other, am I right? So whether it’s heartache, hangover or hypothermia, prepare to have all your boxes rightly ticked with this bad boy!
The soup is basically, caramelised onions in beef stock with a big, crispy, garlicky crouton on top, piled with grated gruyere chese and grilled in its bowls until the cheese and crouton are gratinated. I veered away from tradition here as I do not like serving people scorching hot bowls straight from a hot oven or grill. They are likely to burn themselves but more importantly, I am likely to burn myself with all the ferrying all the hot bowls in and out of the oven. This may not be an issue for someone more dexterous than me but to avoid burns and spills, I just take one oven-proof bowl that will snugly fit the croutons in a single layer, partly fill it with soup, add the toasted croutons, top with the grated gruyere and heat that single bowl until gratinated instead of multiple bowls. Then I ladle out the soup into warm, but not skin-meltingly hot, bowls and add a cheesy, gratinated crouton and serve up. No muss, no fuss!
- A quarter of a baguette
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 Kg onions
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 glass of dry white wine
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 L beef stock
- Sprig of rosemary
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 1 clove of garlic
- 150 g Swiss Gruyere cheese
- Cut the baguette into large croutons, drizzle with olive oil, transfer into a cool oven at 160 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, turning every 5 or so minutes.
- Melt the butter with a little olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the finely slices onions with a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 30 minutes on a medium heat.
- Add the wine, stirring to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the flour. Mix it in and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the stock and fresh herbs.
- Stir, clamp on the lid of the pan and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- As the soup is simmering, rub half a clove of garlic onto both sides of the now toasted croutons.
- Once the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning and take off the heat.
- Add a little of the soup to an oven-proof bowl that will just fit the croutons. Add the croutons and top with the grated cheese and put under the grill or into the oven set to broil until the cheese is melted and caramelised.
- Plate up the soup and add the now caramelised croutons.