This is such a rich and filling dish, especially if a deeply flavoured meat stock has been used, that very little is required either before or after it. Perhaps a lovely selection of raw vegetable crudités beforehand or a crisp bitter leaf salad with or after would be all that is needed. Either way, a bottle of full-bodied red wine is the perfect accompaniment.
- 6 medium–large onions (approximately 750g)
- 90 grams butter
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary or thyme
- ¼ bottle good red wine
- 1 litre good stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
- ½ baguette or sourdough loaf
- olive oil (for drizzling)
- 250 grams Gruyere cheese
Baked Onion Soup with Gruyère Toasts is a guest recipe by Sally Clarke so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe
- Peel the onions, then slice them as finely as possible.
- Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan over a medium to high heat, then add the onions little by little, stirring them well so that the slices become coated in the butter as they start to cook.
- Once the onions are all in, add the bay leaves and the chopped herbs. Cook, stirring from time to time, so that the onions brown evenly and do not get caught at the bottom of the pan. After 15–20 minutes, the onion juices will start to flow and the volume of onions will have reduced by at least 50 per cent.
- When the onion slices are all a lovely chestnut brown, add the red wine and season with sea salt and pepper. Stir everything together well, making sure that the soup is evenly coloured throughout and the texture of the onion is very soft. (This is not a place for al dente onion!) Simmer for 2–3 minutes and reduce the liquid by approximately a half.
- Add the stock and stir again to mix well, bring to the boil, then simmer for up to 30 minutes or until the flavour and the smell is pleasing. At this stage the soup may be removed from the heat and left to cool, then stored, well covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively, it may be frozen.
- Before serving, heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/mark 4. If the soup has been chilled, heat it in a large pan until gently simmering.
- Slice the bread into evenly sized pieces (ideally 2 per person) and grate the Gruyère. Lay the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 3–4 minutes or until golden on one side. Remove from the oven.
- Pour the hot onion soup into an ovenproof serving bowl or deep dish and place the toasts, un-toasted sides up, over the top, slightly overlapping each other. Scatter the toasts with the grated cheese and place the dish in the oven to bake for 10–15 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the toasts are crisp at the edges.
- To serve, scoop into warm serving bowls and then ladle the juices in over the top. Each guest should have an equal quantity of sliced onions, juice and toasts.