This classic French soup has been given a slight Em’s Food makeover as I was unable to get the traditional Gruyere cheese that is the norm. A person of French origin may curse me (Sacre` Bleu!) for tampering with an age old recipe however I had my heart set on this as a starter and you know what? I liked it…..pretty sure my dinner guests did too!
Prep time: 20 Minutes Cooking time: 45 Minutes $ Low Budget
1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
50gm of butter
1kg of large brown onions, peeled, halved and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
10 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and finely chopped
2 tbs of plain flour
1/2 cup of port
1 cup of dry red wine
1.5 litres of good quality Beef stock
2 tbs of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
6 small ciabatta dinner rolls or a french baguette
100gm of good quality Blue Cheese (I used King Island)
Heat a large saucepan and add the oil and butter. I like to use a little oil (not the usual method) as it stops the butter from burning. Once the butter is bubbling add the onions. Reduce the heat a little as you really want the onions to sweat and break down gradually. They will take about 25 minutes but make sure you stir fairly consistently to help the process. Once the onions are lovely and soft and golden add the thyme and garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes and then sprinkle over the flour. Use a wooden spoon to to turn the flour through the onion mixture for a few minutes before pouring in the port and red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan with the spoon to scrape all of the flavour off the bottom and add the beef stock. Continue to stir and bring the mixture back to a simmer. If you cooked the flour for long enough, you should be free of lumps. Allow the soup to simmer for a further 15-20 minutes, have a taste and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat your grill and slice the ciabatta rolls in half crossways. Cut generous slices of blue cheese and lay it on top of the halved rolls. Place on a baking tray and grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
Sprinkle half of the parsley into the soup just before serving. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with the blue cheese croutons. Sprinkle over any remaining parsley and serve…….