Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cheese and Onion Soup

It feels a little strange starting off the year with such a classic recipe but I am a little allergic to shopping in any form at the minute, so this is the perfect supper for an almost empty larder.  Some fresh crusty bread is good with this, but you could also use one which is a day or two old.  I love piling it high with cheese and watching the little spirals melt into the hot soup.

For two servings you will need:

50g unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
4 yellow onions, sliced very finely
1 tsp caster sugar
1 measure of brandy (or white wine)
fresh herbs, eg. a bay leaf and a large sprig thyme
500ml hot home-made chicken stock
salt and pepper

1 pain de campagne or some other good crusty bread
50g Gruyere, finely grated

Melt the butter and oil in a large heavy based pan.
Add the onions and the sugar and saute them for at least 20 minutes until they are very soft and have taken on a delicious golden colour.

Turn up the heat and add the brandy (or wine) and the fresh herbs.  Then add the hot stock and simmer for a further ten minutes or so until the stock has reduced a little.

Toast a few slices of bread and rub their faces with a cut clove of garlic.
Place in the bottom of a serving bowl and spoon over the onion soup.  Top with a large helping of finely grated Gruyere and some finely chopped fresh parsley.

Note - you can cook the onions until they are very brown, but take care not to burn them.  I personally do not like them so overly brown, but you can experiment with the cooking time and taste to suit yourself.

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