Listen, if you can afford a meal deal, you can afford some big onions.
This soup tastes like it’s good for you, so I make it when I’ve had a weekend of masticating variations on bread and animal and I feel like I should probably get some vitamin C. It’s especially good for you when you make little grilled croutons smothered in bubbling, golden cheese and plop them in the soup to bob around like Kate Winslet on that door, and when you slosh the best part of your Cheap Newsagent Wine in.
YOU. WILL. NEED.
- Like 6-8 big fucking onions, sliced into rings or crescents
- 1 tsp thyme, or a handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- 3-4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- A couple of litres of instant stock – either beef or veggie.
- 1 tbsp sugar (ideally brown)
- White wine, or if you’re cheap, apple juice
- A baguette, or leftover lumps of stale bread
- If you are a saucy bastard, you can chop up some bacon or ham into little pieces.
- Some cheese. The pros say Gruyere, but I’m just as happy with strong cheddar or a heel of parmesan. Or, indeed, a Babybel.
Heat a good couple of tablespoons of butter, PLUS a glug of olive oil, in a big thick-bottomed pot or saucepan on a high heat.
When this is really hot, add your onions, garlic, thyme, and sugar. You want the sugar and oil and butter all over your onions, so they get a bit crispy and brown but don’t burn, so keep them on the move.
Turn the heat down low and cover. Keep stirring occasionally but let the onions shrink down and get all small and brown and weird for about 20-30 minutes. Keep pulling the onions away from the bottom. You want to caramelise them, not burn them. THERE’S A DIFFERENCE.
Make your stock and add it in glug by glug. Also at this point you can pour your wine/apple juice (I would say, one massive wineglass) and, if you want, a bay leaf, but nobody knows what they do.
Season it. Keep it at a really low simmer and let it cook for about an hour.
While this is going on, cut your bread/baguette into little pieces and lightly toast them under the grill.
(ARE YOU A SAUCY BASTARD? This is where you put your leftover bacon/ham onto the croutons, creating a tiny croque monsieur diving club.) Then grate a bunch of cheese over them.
Once you’re hungry enough, pour the soup into bowls, bung about four cheesy croutons into it, and then put the whole thing under a grill for about five minutes. NOW, IT IS READY. NICE.
If you manage not to eat it all in one go, you can freeze it for up to three months (probably), or refrigerate it and take it to work in an adorable tupperware.