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French onion soup

This is an absolute classic of a soup and the best bit is it's really easy to make with very few ingredients.

50g Butter
8 Onions - peeled and finely sliced
1 TBS Freshthyme leaves
1 Litre Beef stock - fresh is best, but use a good stock cube if you have it.
1/2 Pint dry cider
Salt and pepper
100g Gruyere cheese
1/2 Baguette

  1.  Melt the butter in a thick bottomed sauce pan, then add the onions and gently cook for around 45 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape all the caramelised brown bits off the bottom of the pan (this bit is essential for the colour and flavour of the soup).
  2. Once the onions are completely softened and are nicely browned, add the cider and the thyme, turn up the heat and reduce the cider by 3/4, then add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Slice the baguette into thick slices and toast on either side.
  5. Ladle out the soup into bowls, place a toasted slice onto the soup and sprinkle with the gruyere cheese, then carefully place under a grill until the cheese is bubbling and melted - be very careful when removing the bowl from the gril! If you prefer not to do this stage, melt the cheese on the toast as you would for cheese on toast, then place on top of the soup.