Suddenly bucket lists, those things to do before you die – or, as the phrase goes, kick the bucket – are all the rage.
Now there’s a Food Lovers’ Bucket List, dreamed up a panel of experts including chef Simon Rimmer. One pleasure they all agreed on was making your own soup ...
French onion soup
by Jean-Christophe Novelli (Serves 4)
50g unsalted butter
1tbsp olive oil
1kg red onions, thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh thyme, stalks removed
2 bay leaves
3tsp caster sugar
750ml dry white wine
350ml hot vegetable stock
1tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
For the croutons:
1 garlic clove, peeled
180g Gruyere cheese, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the oil and gently cook the onions for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Add the herbs and seasoning, sprinkle on the sugar and cook for 5 more minutes or until the onions are melting and glossy.
Pour in the wine and raise the heat. Bring back to the boil and simmer to reduce for 10 minutes. Add the hot stock, bring back to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.
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’s toasting, rub a clove of garlic on the bottom of the pan to infuse the bread. 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 until the cheese is bubbling.
Just before serving the soup, add the lemon juice and stir. Ladle into hot bowls and top with the cheesy croutons. Serve immediately.