French onion soup with a gruyère crouton lid

In a word, the recent weather has been Baltic, and to make things even more enjoyable, the biting wind and arctic cold has been joined by its unwanted cousin…rain. Not just a drizzle but a bone drenching, thick and globulous creation, vomited on us from some dark cloudy orifice above. I have particular gripe with rain because I am a cyclist and on more than one occasion I have turned up at home after work (or vice versa) in my cycling gear looking like a kitten that was accidentally placed in the dishwasher, saved from deaths door only to be accidentally placed in the washing machine (30°C, full spin, extra rinse).

It could be a sudden winter shower or a monsoon downpour, but whenever you are sodden through to the soul, nothing will warm you up more aptly than a huge bowl o’soup. Especially if you are all snuggled up in a duvet in front of the fireplace and in the full knowledge that it is still freezing cold and wet outside and you have nothing else to do but catch up with lost time. This recipe is definitely a quick and easy solution to the current rain that dampens our mornings, afternoons and evenings. 

French onion soup was one of the first recipes I learnt when I started cooking for others. I got this recipe from a cookbook I read whilst on holiday at a friends house in France. It is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes to cook and I have repeated it many a time at dinner parties and even just for myself as a lazy Sunday treat (i.e. when I have no mates to hang out with). 

French onion soup with a gruyère crouton lid 

Serves Six 

You will need: 

700g White onions (thinly sliced)

2 cloves of garlic (finely sliced)

50g of butter

2 tbsp of vegetable oil

½ tsp granulated sugar

2 pints beef stock (rich vegetable stock for a more veggy option)

275 ml dry white wine

salt and pepper 

Croutons: 

six slices of toast (preferably wholemeal)

225g gruyère cheese (grated)

  1. In a large thick-based saucepan heat the butter and oil
  2. Add the onions, garlic, sugar, season to taste and cook on a low heat, stirring occassionally, for about 30 mins until the bottom of the pan is ocvered in a caramelised film
  3. Whilst this is happening, toast the slices of bread.
  4. Once toasted, use your soup bowls to cut out the ‘lids’. Place lids to one side for later
  5. Heat up your grill
  6. Once the onions are cooked, add stock and wine then bring to a boil
  7. Simmer for a few minutes then ladle into your six soup bowls
  8. Cover each bowl with a lid and cover generously with the gruyère cheese
  9. Grill until cheese is bubbly and golden
  10. Serve immediately

Make sure your soup bowls are fireproof or can withstand a high heat!

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