Meals and Courses

Fennel and Onion Soup with Melting Gruyère

cook 30 mins
  • 75 g (3 oz) butter
  • 1 head of fennel, thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dark soft brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry
  • 750 ml (1¼ pints) hot beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (optional)
  • 4 small slices of sourdough bread
  • 100 g (3½ oz) finely grated Gruyère or Emmental cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and cook the fennel, onions, garlic, thyme and sugar for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly caramelized.
  • Pour in the brandy or sherry and heat until completely evaporated. Add the stock and soy sauce, if using, and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Season to taste.
  • Meanwhile, top the slices of sourdough with the grated cheese and arrange on a foil-lined grill rack. Place under a preheated medium-hot grill for 2–3 minutes, until the cheese is melting.
  • To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the Gruyère toasts.
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