French Onion Soup

This warming, comforting soup is made of caramelised onions and beef stock topped with buttery French bread croûtes and melted Gruyère cheese. French onion soup dates back to the 18th century and is one of the most recognised (and appreciated!) soups in the world.


Serves 4

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Cook's NoteThe slower and longer the caramelization takes the better the flavour and colour will be.
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  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 500g white onions finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons plain flour
  • 600ml (2 ½ cups) quality beef stock
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 8 slices of French baguette 1cm thick
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 60g  finely grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley to finish.


To make the soup:

Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat on the hob, taking care not to let it burn.

Add the onions and sugar.

Cook stirring at regular intervals until the onions have caramelised and become sticky. This will take at least 30 minutes (see cook’s note).

Once the onions are nicely browned stir in the cider vinegar and allow it to evaporate.

Remove from the heat and stir in the flour followed by the stock, black pepper and the bay leaf.

Return to the heat and continue to cook stirring until slightly thickened.

Place the lid on and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes to infuse the flavours.

To make the croûtes:

Oven: 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6, pre-heated. Fan oven: 180°C. Grill: medium heat setting.

Brush the melted butter on both sides of the French bread pieces.

Place on a baking tray and cook either in the oven, or under a medium heat grill, turning once until lightly browned.

To finish the dish:

Pour the hot soup equally between four Mini Cocottes and arrange 3 croûtes on top of each.

Sprinkle the grated Gruyère over the top of the croûtes.

Place either in a hot oven or under the grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Serve with freshly chopped parsley on the top.