French Onion Soup
Molten Comté, with its nutty, earthy taste and creamy texture, is the ideal choice for these oozing toasts that soak up the rich broth of the onion soup to perfection.
- 25 g unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 kg large onions, very thinly sliced
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 1 litre rich beef stock
- good pinch of grated nutmeg
- small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 75 ml good-quality Madeira
- 1 day-old baguette or other crusty bread, cut into slices
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 150 g Comté cheese, grated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan or flameproof casserole dish and add the oil. Add the onions and season with salt.
- Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for at least 45 minutes until they have reduced right down to a golden, sticky mass.
- Add the wine and bubble, stirring, for a minute, then add the beef stock, a good grating of nutmeg and the herbs. Simmer for about 20 minutes, then add the Madeira and bubble for 5 minutes more. Check the seasoning and spoon into four small ovenproof bowls or dishes.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Toast the slices of crusty bread and rub one side all over with the garlic. Put the toasts on top of the bowls so that they cover the surface of the soup. Sprinkle with lots and lots of cheese and put on a baking sheet under the grill until the soup is bubbling and the cheese toasts are melted and golden. Serve straight away.