Three-onion soup with stilton croutons

Three-onion soup with stilton croutons
  • Serves icon Serves 6-8
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 1 ½ hours

An updated version of a classic, this three-onion soup with stilton croutons makes both a decadent  and crowd-pleasing starter.

Or try this delicious oven-baked French onion soup with Gruyere toasts for another extra-indulgent soup.

Nutrition: For 8

Calories
329kcals
Fat
12.9g (8g saturated)
Protein
8.4g
Carbohydrates
31.3g (15.5g sugars)
Fibre
4.7g
Salt
1.2g
Calories
329kcals
Fat
12.9g (8g saturated)
Protein
8.4g
Carbohydrates
31.3g (15.5g sugars)
Fibre
4.7g
Salt
1.2g

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 4 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 red onions, thickly sliced
  • Bunch spring onions, finely sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp unrefined dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp Marmite
  • 2 tbsp mushroom ketchup
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 300ml stout ale (see tips)
  • 50ml brandy, plus a splash
  • 1.35 litres best quality fresh vegetable stock
  • Small baguette, thinly sliced
  • 100g stilton cheese

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid, then add the onions, red onions, most of the spring onions and herbs along with a generous pinch of salt. Stir to coat the onions in the butter, then cover with the lid and cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes to make sure the onions don’t catch and burn.
  2. After this time the onions should have reduced in volume, be very soft and have a pale golden brown colour. Once they get to this stage, remove the lid and discard the herbs. Add the garlic, then cook, stirring, over a medium-high heat for a few minutes until the garlic aroma softens. Add the muscovado sugar and cook for 10-15 minutes more, stirring, until deeply caramelised (see tips). Take time when caramelising onions. Only add the liquid (step 3) when the onions are fully browned as they won’t caramelise any further after the liquid has been added.
  3. Once the onions are well browned and caramelised, stir in the Marmite and mushroom ketchup until smooth, turn up the heat, then pour in the wine, stout and brandy. Bubble briskly for 5-6 minutes to reduce the liquid a little, then pour in the stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a spoon to skim off any foam that forms on the surface, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium. Grill the baguette slices for 2 minutes on each side to crisp up, then remove and crumble over the cheese, return to the grill and cook until the cheese is bubbling.

  5. At the end of the soup’s simmering time, add the extra splash of brandy and taste again, seasoning if needed. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and top each with 2 cheesy baguette slices. Scatter over some thyme leaves and the reserved spring onions, then serve immediately.

delicious. tips

  1. Caramelised onions (steps 1-2) are also great in quiches/tarts or used as the base for onion gravy. Check the stout, brandy and stilton are vegetarian, if need be.

  2. Cover the soup and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge, then reheat until piping hot to serve.

  3. The whites of Alsace in France – especially a pinot gris or gewurztraminer.

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