This French classic is one of the best winter warmers ever - indulgent and full-flavoured without being creamy or too rich.
60g butter (unsalted)
6 large onions, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
125 ml dry white wine
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 bouquet garni
2 litres good quality beef stock
8 slices of wholewheat bread (good bread, not sliced toasted bread!)
about 200g grated or sliced Comté or Gruyère cheese
Melt the butter in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat, then add the onions, shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt as the stock will contain quite a lot of salt too) and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened completely and taken on a caramelised brown colour. This should take about an hour.
Add the wine and vinegar. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly reduced. .
Add the beef stock and bouquet garni and bring to the boil again, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, preheat the grill in your oven to 220°C and place eight oven-proof bowls on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Discard the bouquet garni, check for seasoning and divide the soup among the bowls. Top each bowl with a slice of bread nearly big enough to cover the soup and sprinkle generously with cheese.
Place the baking sheet under the grill for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Serve immediately
Make it vegetarian: substitute vegetable stock for the beef stock Make it gluten-free: substitute gluten-free bread or crackers for the bread If you really cannot find Comté or Gruyère, substitute a very full flavoured hard cheese.
Recipe by Cooksister | Food, Travel, Photography at http://www.cooksister.com/2014/01/french-onion-soup-comte-cheese-toasts.html