Sweet onion soup

This is a stunning soup, makes a substantial-enough dish for lunch or supper and, even if you make your own stock, is so easy to make. Similar but much easier to make than French onion soup, you could make it with a good bought-in stock but there’s something very satisfying about making your own if you get the chance.

Serves four

  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • Six large red onions – peeled and sliced
  • One clove of garlic – peeled and crushed
  • Two sprigs of thyme – leaves picked off and chopped
  • Two sprigs of rosemary – leaves picked off and chopped
  • 30g plain flour
  • One litre of beef stock
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • Four slices of white bread – torn into lumps
  • 100g smoked cheese – grated

In a large pan, melt the butter in the olive oil, add the onions and gently fry until they’re soft and tender – probably about 15 minutes – but be careful they don’t burn. Add the garlic and chopped herbs and gently cook for another couple of minutes before sprinkling in the flour and stirring to combine with the onions. Pour in the stock, a little at a time at first whilst stirring until all the flour is combined and the rest can be poured in without making lumps. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for around 20 minutes before adjusting the seasoning to taste.

To serve, first, pre-heat the grill. While it’s heating, pour the soup into warmed bowls (or, for a difference, large coffee cups as we have here) making sure you get lots of the onion in each. Top each one with the lumps of bread, sprinkle on some cheese and place the bowls or cups under the grill until the cheese is melted. Warn your fellow diners to be careful because the bowls will be hot.

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