Onion and cider soup

Onion and cider soup. Photograph: Emma Jervis Photography

Onion and cider soup. Photograph: Emma Jervis Photography

Sat, Feb 3, 2018, 06:00

   
  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 80 mins

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 1.5 kg onions, sliced very thinly
  • Salt and pepper
  • 250 ml cider
  • 1.2 litres chicken or pork stock
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 slices bread, toasted
  • 8 slices smoked Gubbeen cheese

Method

This is my Irish version of French onion soup. I decided to adapt the recipe when I moved back to Ireland and use what was available to me: cheese from Gubbeen and cider from Con Trass’s apple farm. A roaring fire and a glass of red wine on a winter’s night doesn’t ask for anything more.

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the onions and season very well. Sauté them gently, turning them around in the butter, until they start to soften (about 5 minutes). Cover with a lid and sweat the onions until they are very soft and starting to caramelise. This can take up to 50 minutes. You might need to add a splash of water every so often and turn the onions over in the buttery juices.

2. Take the lid off and turn the heat up to medium so the juices can evaporate and the onions caramelise.

3. When the onions are dark add the cider, stock and thyme and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Note: The soup can be made to this stage, cooled and stored until needed. Bring back to the boil and finish off as below.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls, put a slice of toast on top of each bowl of soup. Lay the slices of cheese on top and heat under the grill until golden and bubbling.

5. Allow to cool a little before serving.