French onion soup
50g unsalted butter; 1tbsp olive oil; 1kg red onions, thinly sliced; 1 sprig fresh thyme, stalks removed; 2 bay leaves; 3tsp caster sugar; 750ml dry white wine;
350ml hot vegetable stock; 1tbsp lemon juice; Salt and pepper. For the croutons: 1 baguette; 1 garlic clove, peeled; 180g Gruyere cheese, sliced; Freshly ground black pepper; Pinch of paprika.
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the oil and gently cook the onions for 6-8 minutes or until softened.
2. Add the herbs and seasoning, sprinkle over the sugar and cook for a further five 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.
4. Add the hot stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
5. When you are ready to serve the soup, preheat the grill.
6. Slice the baguette diagonally and dry-fry in a heavy-based pan without oil or butter.
7. While it’s 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 until the cheese is bubbling.
8. Just before serving the soup, add the lemon juice and stir. Ladle into hot bowls and top with the cheesy croutons. Serve immediately.