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My Own French Onion Soup - Serves 4

My Own French Onion Soup

Before being grilled, the croûtons can be rolled up flat with a rolling pin to make them crispier. The soup can be made in advance and reheated when needed – in fact, it improves the flavour.Warm it up slowly for 5 minutes but don’t allow it to boil.

Jean-Christophe Novelli A tip from

This soup is streets ahead of other good, hearty soups and no book of mine would be the same without it. I use St André red onions but white onions will also do. If you do use sharp white onions, keep them in milk for several hours before cooking,which neutralises the acidity. This soup will keep in the fridge for 3 days and is so filling it can be served as a meal in itself.


1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the oil and gently cook the onions for about 6–8 minutes or until softened.

2. Add the herbs and seasoning, sprinkle over the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the onions are melting and glossy.

3. Pour in the wine and raise the heat. Bring back to the boil and simmer to reduce for 10 minutes.

4. Add the hot stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.

5. When you are ready to serve the soup, preheat the grill. Slice the baguette diagonally and dry-fry in a heavy-based pan without oil or butter. While it is toasting, rub a clove of garlic on the bottom of the pan to infuse the bread.

6. When the baguette pieces are golden brown, top with the sliced cheese, grind over the pepper, sprinkle with the paprika, and grill for 2–3 minutes (or microwave for 10 seconds) until the cheese is bubbling.

7. Just before serving the soup, add the lemon juice and stir. Ladle into hot bowls and top with the cheesy croûtons. Serve immediately.

This recipe is taken from Jean-Christophe's 'Everyday Novelli' book.


  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1kg red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, stalks removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 750ml dry white wine
  • 350ml strong vegetable stock, hot
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Croûtons
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 180g Gruyère cheese, sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch paprika

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes