This is one of the ultimate comfort foods. The sweet soup below a crunchy, tangy cheese crust has to be one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. It is also so impressive to serve at a winter dinner party.
Technique tip: Keep the heat gentle for the onions. You need to cook them for a good 40 minutes at a gentle heat to caramelize them.
Swap option: Use half white and half red onions if pink onions aren't available.
- 1 French baguette, torn into chunks
- 1 tablespoon garlic oil or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 4¼ cups beef stock
- 1 tablespoon onion chutney (optional)
- Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 5 ounces Brie cheese, chilled
- 3½ ounces coarsely grated cheddar cheese
For the croutons:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the torn baguette pieces onto a baking sheet and toss together with the oil and caraway seeds. Bake for 5–10 minutes, or until dry and crispy.
For the soup:
1. Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over a high heat.
2. When the butter melts, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes or so, until they are starting to color around the edges. Once they are gently browned, reduce the heat to low and cook slowly, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes. The onions should caramelize deeply, and smell strong and sweet.
3. When the onions are caramelized, add the flour and stir to coat the onions. Increase the heat to high, wait a minute for the pan to get hot, then pour in the wine and let it bubble and evaporate almost entirely. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, partially covered. Stir in the chutney, if using, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Preheat the broiler.
5. Divide the soup between individual heatproof bowls then scatter over the croutons. Slice the Brie into fairly thin slices (work quickly so it doesn't start to melt) and lay them on top of the croutons. Scatter over the cheddar, place the bowls under the broiler and cook until the cheese has melted and charred a little at the edges.