Hearty French Onion Soup*

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 6 onions
  • 2 litres / 4 pints of beef or vegetable stock
  • 125g / 5oz butter
  • 1 glass of sherry
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 thick slices of fresh white bread
  • 50-100g Pargigiano Reggiano, or Gruyère cheese, or a mixture


Peel the onions, cut them in half, and then slice them into thin semi-circle rings. DO NOT CHOP. Put the sliced onions with the butter in a large, thick-bottomed soup pan. Gently sautée the onions over a low heat for about 30-40 minutes, until they have turned nicely brown and partly caramelised. Add the stock, bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 1.5 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Before serving, splash the sherry into the soup, and bring it back to a gentle boil until the alcohol has cooked off. Cut the slices of bread to a size that will fit inside your soup bowls, and toast them until dark brown on both sides. Chop or grate the cheese, and sprinkle a generous handful over each slice of toasted bread. Then put the slices under a grill/broiler (or use a kitchen blowtorch) until the cheese is all bubbling and melty. Pour the soup into bowls, place a slice of the cheese-covered toasted bread on top of each bowl, and serve immediately.

* Authentic Dutch recipe