This is a great variation on French onion soup from the uber-cutie and healthy food champion, Jamie Oliver. This was a perfect meal for a chilly weeknight!
English Onion Soup
Adapted From: jamieoliver.com
a good knob of butter (about 3 tablespoons)
olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
a good handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped (Reserve 8 leaves, chopped and coated in olive oil for the bread garnish)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
5 red onions, peeled and sliced
3 large white onions, peeled and sliced
3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced
300g leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup of red wine
2 litres good-quality hot beef, chicken or vegetable stock (I used a combo of beef/chicken stock)
8 slices of good-quality stale bread, 2cm thick
200g freshly grated Cheddar cheese (I used Gruyere cheese)
a few splashes of red wine vinegar
Put the butter, 2 glugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes – your onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don’t be tempted to speed this bit up.
When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, deglaze the pan with the red wine and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until most of the wine is evaporated. Next, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.
***SEE NOTES***(Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar.)***
Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table. Enjoy!
I made a few slight variations. First, I halved this recipe. I used 2 leeks, 1 large red onion, 1 large sweet onion, 1 large yellow onion, 4 shallots, and 6 garlic cloves. There was still a lot of soup, so I am happy to have the leftovers.
Next, I used a carton of beef stock and about 3-4 cups of chicken stock, since that is what I had on hand. I didn't have cheddar cheese, so I used Gruyere cheese (which really makes it more like French onion soup).
***I didn't place my soup bowls under the broiler, since my dinnerware is not ovenproof. Instead, I toasted the bread on both sides on a sheet pan under the broiler. Then, once toasted, I sprinkled on the Gruyere cheese and some chopped, fresh sage leaves that were coated in olive oil. Once finished, I took a slice of bread and floated it on top of the soup. The result was amazing, and yielded perfect soup!***