“French” Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons

2 Dec

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Crouton

It has turned really cold here now so soup is what I want for lunch every day and this is one of our favourites. I have actually managed to get the “caramelising onions” time down from the usual 90 minutes in most recipes to a much more realistic 30 minutes. I am always too hungry to wait that long and this way works perfectly for me.

OnionsPeeling and chopping onions is not the nicest of jobs but I have found that cutting off the root end of an onion and putting it on your head like a little hat stops you from crying so much. It looks really stupid and the top of your head smells of onion but much less mascara wastage I find. This tip was given to me by The Washer Up’s nephew Callum and it actually works. I think he spent a day of child slave labour in a Spanish kitchen peeling onions and that is what he learnt.

French Onion Soup

I should really call this Spanish Onion Soup as the only thing that is French about it is the Gruyère cheese on the crouton. That can easily be replaced by a nice mature Manchego which is what we normally do to be honest. The onions are local, organic, Spanish onions, the olive oil is local too and the sherry I use to deglaze the pan is as Spanish as you can get.

Gruyere Crouton“French” Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons Recipe

Serves 4-6 Vegetarian/Vegan without the cheese

  • 1 1/2 k onions, peeled & finely sliced into half moons
  • 2 0r 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 4 Tbsp sweet sherry
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1500 ml veg stock &/or water (I use 1 litre stock 1/2 litre water)
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp (vegetarian) Worcestershire sauce
  • baguette sliced
  • olive oil, salt & pepper
  • grated Gruyère (or manchego) cheese
  • thyme

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions, salt, sugar & bay leaves, stir to coat the onions in the oil, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes until softened.

Remove the lid and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes, scraping the bottom to remove the brown bits until the onions are a deep dark golden brown colour.

Then add the flour, sherry and thyme. Scrape the bottom of the pan again to remove all the caramelised sweet bits and cook the sherry for a few minutes. Add the stock and water, season with salt & pepper, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning. Does it need more salt, more sugar or even more Worcestershire sauce?

Brush the baguette slices with olive oil, season with a little salt & pepper and toast under a hot grill until lightly browned. Top with a generous handful of grated cheese, a little thyme and put back under the grill to melt and brown slightly. If you have ovenproof soup dishes you could put the croutons topped with grated cheese directly in the soup, add another handful of cheese and put the whole lot back under the grill.

The Washer Up would not be impressed with that though, it makes a right mess of the bowls so we go for the safer option…

Serve the soup in warmed bowls with the melted cheesey croutons on top.

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons

Enjoy and Stay Warm!


10 Responses to ““French” Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons”

  1. margaret21 December 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    It’s turned thoroughly cold and windy in this corner of the French Pyrenees. This is definitely going to be on the menu tomorrow.

  2. Marianne December 2, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    This looks absolutely delicious, Natalie. I love making home-made soup on cold days!

  3. VogueVegetarian December 2, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Natalie, you made my day! Finally a vegetarian French Onion soup! Oh, how I have longed to find the perfect recipe that gave that wonderful flavor French Onion has without the beef broth. I can tell from all the various herbs and ingredients you have here that this one is going to give me that flavor I have been searching for. I can’t wait to get this one made. Thanks so much!

  4. Alicia December 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    This recipe sounds so rich and delicious! I think a lot of veggie onion soups are lacking complexity, which I am guessing this achieves with the sherry and veggie Worcestershire sauce. But I really love your onion cutting tip! At first I thought you were kidding, but now I want to try it!

  5. Eha December 3, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    Now, first allow me to stop laughing: this has been such fun 🙂 ! Secondly, methinks my old ONION SOUP [never mind from where :D!] recipe has just been superseded! Third – I almost feel llke > kitchen to test that ‘ridiculous’ onion handling method! Uhuh: I cry!!! I have never put W’cester > onion soup, but am game!! Well, that leaves us with a big ‘thank you’!

  6. Chica Andaluza December 3, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    Perfect and am still chuckling at the thought of you wearing a slice of onion on your head 😉

  7. Three Well Beings December 3, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    The onion on the head? I’m just crazy enough to try it! 🙂 I love French onion soup, and this sounds like a wonderful recipe. It’s great to have a vegetarian version! Yum!

  8. VogueVegetarian December 3, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Natalie, I was so excited about the recipe that I didn’t read the blog. Now that I have read it (and had a good laugh), I have to say I really enjoy your style. Thanks for the laugh–love the onion on the head suggestion :-). Spanish Onion or French Onion… I am sure it is good either way.

  9. peasepudding December 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Is there anything more comforting and simple as French Onion soup, it’s what a winter craves!


  1. Crockpot French Onion Soup « Living Too Large - December 4, 2012

    […] “French” Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons (foodblogandthedog.wordpress.com) […]

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