French onion soup with melted Gruyère

French onion soup with melted Gruyère

Tara Fisher

Whenever I go to Paris I make a beeline for a restaurant called Fouquet’s on the Champs-Élysées. They serve the best French onion soup I’ve tasted. They add dry sherry, which makes all the difference, as does the amount of time you cook the onions before adding the stock. Simmering it slowly for at least an hour adds to the wonderful depth of flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg white onions
4 fresh thyme sprigs
50g butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
75ml dry sherry
250ml white wine
3 tablespoons plain flour
1.5 litres veal or beef stock
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
4 thick slices white bread
250g gruyere cheese, grated
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Finely slice the onions and pick the leaves from the thyme sprigs. Heat a large sauté pan, add the butter, olive oil, onions and thyme and fry gently for 35–40 minutes over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown.
  2. Finely chop the garlic cloves. When the onions are nearly cooked, add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the sherry and white wine and simmer until they have reduced by half.
  3. Add the flour, stirring constantly to get rid of any lumps, then cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, then cook gently for about 1 hour. Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
  4. To make the croûtons, preheat the grill to high. Toast the bread in a toaster, then cut off the crusts. Cut the bread to fit the size of the flameproof bowls you plan to serve the soup in – it should be large enough to almost cover the soup with a small gap around the edge. Ladle the soup into the bowls, top with the toast and pile the cheese on top. Place under the grill until bubbling and golden brown. Serve immediately.
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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