Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup


1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 large onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
sprig fresh thyme
2 tbsp flour
4 fl oz dry white wine
3 pints beef stock
2 tbsp brandy (optional)
6-8 thick slices French bread, toasted
1 garlic clove
12 oz Gruyere cheese, grated


Melt the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring all the time, for about 15 minutes until soft and golden. Add the garlic, sugar and thyme and continue to cook for a further 25 – 30 minutes until the onions are really brown.

Stir in the flour and blend in well. Add the white wine and beef stock slowly, stirring all the time, and bring to a gentle boil. Skim. Reduce the heat and continue cooking for a further 40 – 50 minutes and then stir in the brandy, if using.

Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls and top each with a slice of the toasted bread. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the toasted bread and place under a hot grill to melt the cheese and have it bubbling and starting to brown.

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