50g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1kg red onions, thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme, stalks removed
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons caster sugar
750ml dry white wine
350ml hot vegetable stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
For the croûtons
1 garlic clove, peeled
180g Gruyère cheese, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the oil and gently cook the onions for about 6–8 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the herbs and seasoning, sprinkle over the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onions are melting and glossy.
3. Pour in the wine and raise the heat. Bring back to the boil and simmer to reduce for 10 minutes. Add the hot stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
4. When you are ready to serve the soup, preheat the grill. Slice the baguette diagonally and dry-fry in a heavy-based pan without oil or butter. While it is toasting, rub a clove of garlic on the bottom of the pan to infuse the bread. When the baguette pieces are golden brown, top with the sliced cheese, grind over the pepper, sprinkle with the paprika, and grill for 2–3 minutes (or microwave for 10 seconds) until the cheese is bubbling.
5. Just before serving the soup, add the lemon juice and stir. Ladle into hot bowls and top with the cheesy croûtons. Serve immediately.
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