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This classic French soup (traditionally served after a wedding reception, either before going to bed or first thing in the morning after) can be eaten at any time of day and is filling and delicious.
- 530g onion (4)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 100ml armagnac (or any other brandy)
- 1 litre beef stock
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 15g unsalted butter
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Peel and finely slice the onion, peel and finely dice the garlic.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, put in the onions, garlic, sugar and salt and cook it on a high heat for 10 minutes, stirring it often.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook it for 40-50 minutes with the lid on until the onions have turned a rich golden brown colour. Keep stirring the onions every 5 minutes or so, otherwise the onions can burn which will turn the soup bitter.
- Turn up the heat, push the onion to one side of the pan and add the armagnac. After 20 seconds, when the alcohol has evaporated, stir it in to the onions. When all the armagnac has been absorbed by the onion, add the beef stock, season with salt & pepper, bring the mixture up to the boil, then turn it down and simmer it until it has reduced by half.
- When the soup has reduced by half, add the white wine vinegar and taste the soup to check the seasoning.
- Pre-heat a grill. Slice 1 piece of baguette per person and toast it, then cut a clove of garlic in half and rub each piece of baguette with the garlic. Grate a generous amount of Gruyere cheese onto each piece of baguette and put them under the grill until the cheese has melted. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a piece of the cheese-topped baguette floating on the surface of the soup.
- Cooking the onions initially for 10 minutes over a high heat evaporates the water out of the onion, then reducing the heat once most of the water has gone allows the caramelising process to begin.
- This soup is quite a hearty soup and could be described as a good “winter warmer”... we made the soup on one of the hottest days of the year, in the middle of July, and nearly collapsed while trying to eat it. This is not recommended.