On Thursdays, I walk with my neighbour and her lovely Labradors around the Ickworth estate. Whatever the weather, it’s a fabulous walk we never tire of. After a couple of hours or so of brisk walking we definitely need a coffee and a light lunch. I’m currently working through my repertoire of soup recipes for our winter walks and I hope you like this one as much as we do. Softly caramelised onions in a rich beefy stock topped with thick croutons and golden grilled cheese, it’s a winter winner!
Serves 2 generously
- 40g unsalted butter
- 500g white onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 150ml dry white wine
- 800ml good quality dark beef stock. I used a Knorr gel beef stockpot and 2 tsps of Bovril
- Bouquet Garni of bay leaves, thyme and parsley stalks
- 2 thick slices of French bread
- 120g Gruyere or Compte cheese, coarsely grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the butter in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onions, garlic and sugar and cook over a medium heat. Stir regularly for 30 minutes and cook until the onions are soft and really well caramelised.
- Add the wine, simmer rapidly until reduced by half.
- Add the beef stock and the herbs, cover and leave to simmer for at least another half an hour. Season with salt and pepper.
- Dry out the bread on a baking sheet in the oven at 150 for 30 minutes and remove. Cut it into coarse croutons.
- Spoon the soup into oven proof bowls, top with the croutons and cover in grated cheese. Put the soup bowls on the tray and then under a hot grill for a few minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
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