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British Onion Soup

Never to be outdone by the French, here is GoodFood Magazine’s British version of the classic potage. The recipe calls for hard cider (instead of sherry), and mature cheddar (instead of gruyère), both working beautifully to provide a classic British sensibility. The onion to broth ratio of the soup is perfect here, and the cheesy toast on top? Well, what more needs to be said —  it’s cheesy toast!!! We side with the Brits!

British Onion Soup

4 tbs. butter, plus a bit more for the bread
2 lb. 4 oz. onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbs. golden caster sugar
a few fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh bay leaves (or 2 dried)
½ cup hard cider
3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 thick slices bread, country or sourdough
4 oz. mature cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup packed)
large handful of freshly chopped parsley

Heat the butter in a large pot, then add the onions, sugar, thyme, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered, over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are brown and soft, 40-60 minutes. Add the cider and simmer until reduced by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Check seasoning.

To serve, spread the bread with a bit of butter on both sides. Toast under the broiler until golden, flip, and toast the other side. Scatter with the cheese and toast until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a piece of bread sprinkled with parsley.

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