French onion soup

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This stunning French onion soup recipe is pure comfort in a bowl. As Louise explains, the key to perfecting this dish lies in having a little patience – take your time and witness the beauty of the humble onion being transformed into an exquisite dish.

First published in 2016

French onion soup is a classic dish, loved for the simplicity of its ingredients - onions, stock, wine, a few herbs. But in order to create the perfect French onion soup recipe, there is another essential ingredient – patience. It takes time to create this dish. Time for the onions to slowly mellow, to gently caramelise without burning, otherwise they will add a bitter note to the soup. It cannot be rushed.

The onions are usually gently cooked on the hob until soft and caramelised, but I find it is easier to cook them slowly in a covered roasting tray in the oven, as they are less likely to burn. A kilo does seem like a lot of onions, but they will reduce significantly when cooked, so do not be tempted to reduce the amount.

The best French onion soup is made by creating layers of flavour, starting with a good quality beef stock, then adding caramelised onions and wine. My version uses Essential Cuisine’s Veal Jus, which adds a luxuriously rich flavour boost to the finished soup. Served with melting Gruyere toasts, this is the ultimate winter comfort dish.




French onion soup

Gruyère toasts


Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Add the sliced onions, olive oil and thyme sprigs to a large heavy duty roasting tray, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes, giving the onions a stir halfway through
After 45 minutes, remove the foil and the thyme springs. Stir and sprinkle over the sugar then roast uncovered for 15 minutes
Add the crushed garlic, stir well again and roast uncovered for a further 15 minutes
Remove the tray from the oven and place over a medium heat on the hob. Add the wine, stir well and allow to bubble briskly for a 3–4 minutes
Spoon the onion and wine mixture into a large saucepan and add the beef stock. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, toast the baguette slices in the oven for 10 minutes, turning them over halfway through until crisp but not too coloured
Preheat the grill its highest setting
Add the veal jus to the onion soup to taste, season with salt and pepper if required and stir well. Continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes
Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls and top each with two toasted baguette slices
Scatter over the grated Gruyère and sprinkle over a few thyme leaves. Place the bowls under the grill until the cheese is bubbling then serve immediately
First published in 2016

Louise Robinson is a former fashion accessories designer turned freelance food writer, stylist and photographer now based in the Sussex countryside.

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