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A delicious homemade French onion soup recipe from an incredible home chef and author, who also shares her tips on winter cooking. 

As the first of winter’s cold snaps grips the country, we caught up with Jan Kohler; home chef and author of the Pink Gin and Fairy Cakes cookbook.

Jan’s hope is to make cooking a fun, family affair for all to enjoy, together. And so, celebrating the change of season, Jan shares one of her favourite recipes guaranteed to keep taste buds tantalised and appetites satiated. With her warm approach and uncomplicated recipes in Pink Gin and Fairy Cakes, Jan aims to inspire home chefs of all competencies to prepare incredible food with ease and confidence.

French Onion Soup

This was a recipe that I happened upon when I bought my first French cookbook, really out of curiosity. I had fun learning to cook many dishes out of this book, and in this case, it was literally love at first bite.

Here’s what goes in:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 large onions, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 litres of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 French baguette
  • A three-quarter cup of Gruyère or any strong-flavoured hard cheese

How to do it:

First, cut your onions in half and then take each half and slice the onion very, very finely. You want the onions in this soup to be delicate. In a heavy-based (preferably cast-iron) pot, melt the butter and fry the onion and garlic on a low heat until the onion caramelises and turns golden brown in colour. Add the flour, making sure that all the onions are well-coated. This will thicken your soup. Gradually add the chicken stock and white wine, stirring continuously. Bring this to the boil and add the herbs and seasoning. Cover the pot and allow to gently simmer for about an hour. When the soup is ready you can turn it off and reheat it for later use if necessary.

About 20 minutes before you’d like to serve the soup, preheat your grill and prepare the baguette. Slice the baguette diagonally to get nice long pieces, and then sprinkle the grated cheese on top of each one. Grill for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and turns golden brown.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the soup before serving. This soup can be served in individual bowls with the slice of bread floating on top or if you’d like a smaller cocktail version, serve it in a teacup with the bread balanced over the top.