This is the first time I’ve got the onions to caramelise, and the first time I’ve ever managed to get brandy to flame in a recipe, and the first time I’ve used red wine (most recipes call for white). And it was tastilicious!
It would be easy to replace the beef stock with vege stock to make this recipe vegetarian.
2 tbsp olive oil
500g large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp brandy
150ml red wine
1 litre beef stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
slices of French bread
1 garlic clove, halved
40g Gruyere cheese, grated
1. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and toss in the butter. Fry gently for 20 minutes until very soft and just beginning to turn golden around the edges.
2. Stir in the sugar and fry onions for another 20 minutes, sitting more frequently towards the end of cooking, until the onions are carmelised to a rich dark brown.
3. Add brandy and, when bubbling, flame with a long taper and quickly stand well back.
4. Add the wine, stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper as soon as the flames subside, then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
5. Toast the bread on both sides then rub with the cut surface of the garlic. Sprinkle with cheese and put back under the grill until the cheese is bubbling.
6. Ladle the soup into the bowls and top with cheesy croutes.