Classic winter recipes: French onion soup

Add a little oh là là to winter suppertime with this scrumptious classic

French onion soup SERVES 4

There’s only one trick to this sumptuous classic: time. Cook the onions for up to an hour to achieve melting, caramel perfection, then once you’ve added the stock, simmer for another hour. The taste will prove that it’s time not wasted. Fresh beef stock really does make a difference.


● 35g unsalted butter
● 11/2 tbsp olive oil
● 500g yellow onions, thinly sliced
● 1/2 scant tsp caster sugar
● 11/4 litres quality beef stock (preferably not a stock cube)
● 1 tbsp plain flour
● 120ml dry white wine
● 4 slices of crusty bread or baguette
● 1 garlic clove
● 11/2 tbsp brandy, or to taste


● 150g Gruyère or Emmental cheese,
● thinly sliced or coarsely grated
● salt and pepper

1 Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavybottomed pan or casserole on a low heat. Add the onion, a good pinch of salt and the sugar and cook on a low heat, stirring often, for 45 minutes to an hour, until the onion is very soft, golden brown and sweet. 2 Pour the stock into another pan and bring to a boil. 3 Add the flour to the caramelised onions and cook, stirring, for another few minutes. Add the hot stock and the wine, season with salt and pepper and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for at least 45 minutes, preferably an hour, stirring occasionally to check it’s not catching. 4 Toast the bread and then rub with the garlic clove on both sides while still warm, then cover each with cheese. Preheat the grill. 5 Add the brandy to the soup, if using, and check the seasoning. Ladle into ovenproof soup bowls and top each one with a piece of toast. Place under the grill until the cheese is bubbling. If this manoeuvre seems risky, grill the cheese toasts on a baking tray separately then serve them on top of your soup bowls.

EAT FRESH! Enjoy fresh, seasonal food delivered to your door with Riverford Organic’s veggies and fruit, meat and more. Explore the full range – and more recipes – at or call 01803 227227.


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