There are few things more comforting on a cold wintery night than a classic French onion soup. This one is lifted with a touch of dry white wine and topped with smoky cheddar cheese croutons.
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
50 grams butter
6 large white onions (1kg) halved and thinly sliced
4 sprigs thyme (leaves only stalks removed)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon plain flour
250ml dry white wine
1.4 litres beef stock (hot)
1 French baguette
150 grams Applewood smoked cheddar cheese (grated) or Gruyere.
Handful of Italian flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
26cm heavy bottom casserole pot with lid
A 20cm x 10cm deep oven proof dish (or individual soup bowls)
Place garlic, butter and four tablespoons of olive oil in the casserole pot and cook on a low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the garlic to infuse the butter. Add the onions, thyme & bay leaf and cook with the lid on for 10 minutes until soft. Sprinkle in the sugar and cook for 20 minutes more, stirring frequently, until caramelised. The onions should be golden, full of flavour and soft. Take care towards the end to ensure they don’t catch and burn.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Increase the heat slightly and keep stirring as you gradually add the wine, followed by the hot beef stock. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
To serve: Turn on the grill to a high heat, and slice the baguette into 3cm slices.
Line the bottom of the serving dish with pieces of baguette, then ladle in the soup to 3cm below the top. Completely cover the top of the soup with baguette slices and sprinkle generously with the cheese, then the parsley, and grill until golden and melted.
Serve piping hot.