Onions are cheap and the weather is cold. What better dish than French onion soup to beat the chill and stay on budget?
3-4 medium yellow onions
1 beef stock cube
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp white sugar
2-3 tbsp plain flour
250 ml white wine
salt and pepper
Crusty white bread
Grated Gruyere cheese
Dissolve the stock cube in warm water to create beef broth, and set aside. Slice the ends and stems off the onions and remove the skins, then cut each onion in half top-to-bottom and slice the halves into strings.
Melt the butter and oil in a pot over medium heat and add the sliced onions. Stir to coat, then cover, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, mix thoroughly, and leave the onions to caramelize, stirring frequently for 20 minutes, or until they are soft to the touch, fragrant and evenly brown.
When the onions have caramelized, add the flour and cook until mixed, about 30 seconds. Pour the white wine into the pot and stir. Reduce the heat and let simmer for a minute, then add the beef broth. Let the soup simmer on low for at least an hour, or as long as three hours.
Before serving, preheat the grill and top slices of crusty bread with grated Gruyere cheese (Parmesan or strong cheddar will do in a pinch.) Place the cheesy bread under the grill for a minute or so, until the cheese is melted, bubbly and slightly browned.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with a slice of Gruyere bread. Serve immediately.
Photo Credit: Olivia Ives