Load up on onions, sharpen your knife and get slicing. This is a great alternative to French Onion Soup from Jamie Oliver.
But first, some kitchen tips from whatfoodimade:
• Sharp knives reduce the amount of tears produced while cutting onions.
• Leaving the root of the onion on while slicing also helps to reduce the crying.
• Cutting the onions underwater or freezing the onions before cutting are also suggested as ways to lessen the affect of synthase which is the enzyme that leads, eventually, to the irritant to eyes. These two ideas sound far too dangerous to be worth trying.
• Wear contact lenses. Foolproof!
Let’s get busy making soup.
Get all the onions.
Slice the white onions.
Slice the red onions too.
Slice and wash the leeks.
All the onions are sliced and ready. Next step…
Get the butter and olive oil flavoured by adding sage leaves and garlic.
Add the onions, shallots, leeks and red onions to the pans. So many onions!
While the onions are cooking, get working on the soup’s topping.
Pour some olive oil on the slices of bread, then toast the bread.
Grate a bunch of Cheddar cheese.
Choose some sage leaves.
After an hour plus a bit, the onions are ready.
Add the cooked onions to the heated stock.
Add salt and pepper.
Load some of the soup into an ovenproof bowl.
Put the toasted bread and grated cheddar on top.
Sprinkle with Worcestershire sauce and a reserved sage leaf and broil until the cheese is bubbly.
English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar.
English onion soup with sage and Cheddar
Topped with crunchy cheesy croutons
Cooks in 1H 30M
Difficulty: Super easy
1 good knob butter
1 good handful fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for serving
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5 red onions, peeled and sliced
3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
300 g leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
freshly ground black pepper
2 litres organic beef, vegetable or chicken stock, hot
8 slices good-quality stale bread, 2cm thick
200 g Cheddar cheese, freshly grated
There’s something so incredibly humble about onion soup. It’s absolutely one of my favourites but unfortunately I only ever get to make it in the restaurant or for myself as the missus thinks she’s allergic to onions. (She’s not, because I whiz them up into loads of dishes without her knowing!)
If you have the opportunity, get hold of as many different types of onion for this soup as you can – you need about 1kg in total. Sweat them gently and you’ll be amazed at all the flavours going on.
Put the butter, 2 lugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes – your onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don’t be tempted to speed this bit up.
When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.
Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it’s perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.
Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table. Enjoy.