Onion soup with Madeira and Gruyere toasts

This classic recipe is given a fresh twist with the addition of Madeira and Gruyere.


Serves 4

A good thick slice of butter
3 large Spanish onions, peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
250ml white wine
2 tablespoons flour
1 litre chicken stock
3-4 tablespoons Madeira
12 slices of sourdough bread
75g Gruyere, thinly sliced


Achieving the perfect results

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add the sliced onions and the bay leaves and let them cook, without colour, over a medium heat. You want them to be soft and slightly sticky, which will take a good 25 minutes.
  2. When they are ready, stir in the flour, cook for a minute or so then pour in the white wine and then the stock, bringing it to the boil.
  3. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn the heat down so that the soup simmers, and leave it, with all but an occasional stir for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the Madeira and continue simmering for 5 -10 minutes.
  5. Toast the bread on one side then cover the other with the sliced Gruyere.
  6. Check the soup for seasoning then spoon into ovenproof bowls.
  7. Float the slices of bread on top and place under the grill for a couple of minutes till the cheese has melted.

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