French Onion Soup
This is a great meal to make when there’s nothing much left in the fridge. Cheesy croutons don’t need to be omitted just because you’re cutting back. You can use any hard, full-flavoured cheese instead of the Gruyére but I think its nuttiness compliments the richness of the onions particularly well.
- 2 tsp sunflower oil
- 6 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra to garnish
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1.5 litres hot beef stock (made with 2 stock cubes)
- 12 thin slices of baguette (about 15g per slice), cut diagonally
- 50 g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
- flaked sea salt
- ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan or flameproof casserole dish. Add the onions, cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 20–25 minutes or until the onions are very soft, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the lid, increase the heat and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the onions have turned a rich golden brown colour, stirring frequently and making sure that they do not burn. Reduce the heat and stir in the thyme leaves and flour.
- Pour the stock slowly over the onions, stirring constantly and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the soup thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm over a low heat.
- Heat the grill to the hottest setting. Place the baguette slices on a baking tray and toast close to the grill for 1 minute on each side or until lightly browned.
- Remove from under the grill and sprinkle a little of the grated cheese on each slice of bread. Return to the grill and cook until the cheese melts and is begins to brown.
- Ladle the hot soup into warm, deep bowls and top each one with 2 pieces of the cheesy toast. Sprinkle with tiny sprigs of thyme just before serving. Calories per serving: 188.
To freezeFreeze the cooled soup by dividing into freezer-proof containers. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze the croutons by toasting the bread and topping with the cheese, but do not grill again. Open freeze the toast until solid and stack in a freezer-proof container interleaving with baking parchment.
To serveWarm the soup through gently in a large saucepan until thawed then simmer until piping hot, stirring regularly. Grill the croutons from frozen, not too close to the heat, for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the bread is piping hot.
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