This recipe has been in my handwritten recipe book for a couple of decades. It comes out when onions are cheap or when I feel like a savoury, light  meal. The ingredients are usually available in the kitchen so a fairly classy meal can be made in an emergency.

Yesterday I bought a 10kg bag of onions to make pickles (what was to be my first attempt at fermenting but I wimped out and made pickled onions with vinegar after a couple of days fermenting), so with plenty of onions in the house I made it again last night and this batch was the best so far so I decided that I had better write down exactly what I did.

The big secret is not to hurry it. It is not a quick meal if cooked this way so plenty of wine while waiting makes the whole process very pleasant.



  • 10 brown onions (medium), dunked in boiling water for about one minute, left to cool, then peeled and sliced in the food processor with the wavy blade.
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs flour
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 litres beef stock (or stock made with stock powder according to the directions)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Enough slices of french bread, or muffins so there is one for each serve
  • Coarsely grated gruyere or tasty cheddar cheese, about one cup


Cook onions and garlic in the melted butter and oil mixture for at least 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions soften and caramelise. Add more butter if necessary.

Stir in the flour until the mixture has thickened then add the stock, slowly at first, stirring, and adding more stock gradually. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to a slow simmer, stirring from time to time. Let it simmer for at least an hour, topping it up with more water if necessary.

When the onions are softened and ready to be served, construct the toasts: toast one side of the bread then put the grated cheese on the bread and toast under the grill.

To Serve

Place a piece of cheese toast in the bottom of each bowl, the pour the soup on top.

I added a parsley before serving.

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