French Onion Soup

By Tim Hayward From the book The DIY Cook
French Onion Soup from Tim Hayward's The DIY Cook

This deliciously retro French recipe is an absolute classic and wonderful warming to enjoy in the winter.

For how many? Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter


  • 1kg onions
  • 50g butter
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 250ml white wine or vermouth
  • 1 litre pot-au-feu broth
  • 10 tarragon leaves
  • several slices of baguette per serving
  • 150g Gruyère cheese


1. Peel the onions and shred them as finely as you can.

2. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the onions and sugar and stir over a high heat until the onions begin to brown at the edges.

3. Turn the heat down as low as you can, grate in the garlic and cover the top of the onions with a circle of greaseproof paper – a ‘cartouche’.

4. After around 45 minutes the onions will be fully reduced to a jam-like sludge. Raise the temperature again and pour in the alcohol. Allow it to bubble off until the winey smell mellows.

5. Pour in the stock and simmer for half an hour. Add the tarragon and adjust the seasoning.

6. Toast the baguette slices in a low oven until they’re crisp.

7. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls on a baking tray. Float several of the bread pieces on top of each bowl and top with a thick layer of grated cheese.

8. Slide the bowls under a hot grill or the top elements of your oven until the cheese crust is bubbly and browning.

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