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Tuesday 19 February 2013

Sluttishly Savoury: Cheaty French Onion Soup

I was 10 when I first ate French onion soup, we had gone out for a posh lunch in a hotel in Hong Kong and I was rather upset that the waiter had gone and dropped the cheesy toast in my soup. Obviously all the grown ups found this hilarious and I was left completely baffled by the whole thing.

Melty cheese on toast is a total perk of making French onion soup, if you can, use Gruyère or Emmental as their extra melty nuttiness works beautifully but I've just used some good old cheddar that was in the fridge. Lots of people add flour to their soups but I never do, if you slice the onions nice and thin they break down and thicken the soup. Traditionally you would need to gently cook the onions for about 2 hours in order to get the deep, caramelised onion flavour but if in a hurry this cheaty quick way makes for a wonderful soup AND you get to have extra cheesy toast for tea. You don't have to use red wine either, you can use white if you prefer or some sherry or even cider is really lovely, ah yes, cheesy boozy soup, marvellous!

French onion soup: (serves 2)
You will need:
  • 3 large Spanish onions, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 50g butter
  • sea salt flakes
  • 2 tblsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh
  • small glug red wine (about 75ml)
  • 500ml hot beef stock (2 x OXO cubes will be fine)
  • 25ml cognac
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices of baguette 
  • handful grated cheese
Make it!
  1. Put the butter, onions, garlic, pinch of salt, thyme and the sugar in a saucepan over a low to medium heat and stir well. Keep stirring every now and then for about 20-30 minutes or until the onions go from golden to dark brown and caramelised.
  2. Add the wine and stir well, cook for a minute then add your stock, bring back to the boil briefly then add the cognac and simmer for 5 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. Toast the slices of baguette then top with cheese and grill before ladling the soup into bowls and topping with your cheesy crouton.


  1. Your post is really awesome. I love french soup with onion. Thanks for sharing nice recipe. I will try this at home. I have bookmarked this sites and i will get back to you to get another yummy recipe.

  2. OXO cubes are fine in a pinch, but I like to use a can of beef consomme! Baxters do a really lovely one.

  3. It is a great favourite since Hong Kong, make it every week during the winter months, but minus the booze. Very nourishing, warming and hardly any cost involved., mum xx


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