French onion soup with cheesy croutons

French onion soup with cheesy croutons

More Home Comforts
Peter Cassidy

Whenever I go to France I make a beeline for Le Fouquet’s on the Champs-Elysées, in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe. The keys to a good onion soup like this are the stock and the cooking time, plus a little sherry. Get those three things right and it’s the best-tasting soup out there, plus of course the melted cheese croutons on the top.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, finely sliced
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
200ml white wine
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
50ml dry sherry
1 litre fresh dark beef stock
1/2 baguette, sliced thickly into chunks
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
110g gruyere cheese, grated


  1. Heat a large sauté pan until hot, then add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onions, thyme and soft brown sugar, and fry for 10–15 minutes over a medium–low heat, or until the onions are softened and golden-brown, stirring occasionally so they don’t catch on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the white wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the brandy and sherry, then pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook gently for about 10–15 minutes.
  3. While the soup simmers, heat a griddle until hot. Drizzle the remaining oil over the bread and toast on one side, then set aside.
  4. Check the seasoning of the soup, adding plenty of salt and a little pepper, and adding more sugar or alcohol if necessary to suit your own taste.
  5. Preheat the grill to high. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the toasted bread, then add the cheese and return to the grill until bubbling and golden-brown. Any leftover soup can be frozen for up to four weeks.
Home Comforts
British food
classic recipes
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