Being slightly broken still from all the excesses of Christmas and New Year, this shall be our second night running of a soup supper. Onion soup. It is incredibly luxurious, even though it’s mostly just onions. I remember quite a few years ago now, Jamie and I had been wandering around Montmartre in the freezing cold. Suffering from hunger and exhaustion we stopped at a café. I, as is my wont, ordered something fancy and over the top (can’t even remember what it was now) and Jamie ordered the simple, humble, onion soup. We couldn’t believe the depth of flavour this bowl was producing. I was green with envy (and Jamie was far too generous), and we’ve been making it ever since, especially when we need a little encouragement that everything will be OK.

This recipe is a kind of cross-between two recipes from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen (thanks Siobhann for the recommendation, Jamie loves this book) and Soup Kitchen, recipe by Patricia Michelson.

Serves two (with plenty of room for seconds)

25g butter

4 large onions, thinly sliced

Around about 1 litre of preferably homemade chicken stock


To serve:

Toasted slices of baguette

Splash of white wine

½ tspn Dijon mustard

50g gruyère, thickly shaved or grated or both

Melt butter in saucepan, and on a low heat, slowly, slowly cook the onions until caramelised. Recipes tell you it only takes an hour. It’s actually at least twice this if you’re using a normal sized saucepan. It also tells you hold your nerve. Hold…

Anyway, once the onions are sticky and brown, add the stock and seasoning, bring to the boil and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill the slices of baguette until dried out. Mix a splosh of white wine with the mustard, brush the slices and top with cheese. Cook under hot grill until bubbling and golden. Check seasoning of soup, ladle into bowls and place the cheesey slices on top. Phew. Happy New Year.

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