French Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons

French Onion Soup with Gruyere CroutonsHarry Weir

A classic soup recipe - and here is the masterclass, courtesy of Cooks Academy

Serves 4


  • 1.3kg white onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme leaves
  • Olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • 30-50ml brandy
  • 1.3 litres beef or veal stock, good flavoursome stock
  • 1/2 ciabatta loaf
  • 100g Gruyère cheese, grated


  1. In a heavy based saucepan, slowly fry off all the finely sliced onions, garlic, salt, bay leaf and thyme with the olive oil. Place a lid on and slowly cook (not colouring yet) for about 15 minutes over a low heat – the slower the better. You want the onions to be melted and translucent.
  2. Remove the lid, add the butter and turn up the heat and start to colour the onions until they are brown – about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Keep stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure they don’t burn. Deglaze with the brandy. Cook for a further two minutes.
  3. Add the stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Check the seasoning.
  4. Cut the bread crossways into slices or rounds to fit the serving bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly crisp up on a baking tray in an oven for four minutes. Next, scatter a generous amount of Gruyère over each slice of bread and place in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling or place under the grill.
  5. Serve the soup in a bowl with a Gruyère crouton drifting in the centre.

Tip: The trick to getting this soup right is the two-step approach to the onions. First, the sweating of the onions. This takes time and can’t be rushed. Don’t walk away from the pan or they will burn. The second is the caramelisation of the onions. This adds the sweetness.

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