Balthazar onion soup gratinée

Onion Soup

Onions are all around, I’ve got a good batch of onions grown from set in my cold frame and plenty in my fridge. Reading through the Observer’s Food Magazine last week I came across Balthazar onion soup gratinée.

Its a rich soup, which is mildly onion-y and the port is simply inspired.


Olive oil 5 tbsp
Spanish onions 4, medium, peeled, halved and sliced, about 5mm thick
unsalted butter 15g
garlic 1 clove, peeled and thinly sliced
thyme 4 sprigs
bay leaf 1
salt 1 tsp
freshly ground white pepper ¼ tsp
dry white wine 185ml
chicken stock 2 litres – I used vegetable stock
port 125ml
country bread 6 slices, about 2.5cm thick, toasted
gruyère 200g, coarsely grated – I used hard goats cheese instead as I’m vegetarian


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium flame. Add the onions and, stirring frequently to prevent burning, sauté until they reach a golden colour; this will take approximately 30 minutes. Add the butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, add the white wine and boil until it has reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 45 minutes.


Preheat the grill. Remove the thyme and bay leaf, and swirl the port into the finished soup. Ladle the soup into 6 ovenproof bowls. Fit the toasted bread into the bowls on top of the liquid and sprinkle the cheese on to each slice (about 30g per bowl). Place under the grill for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts to a crisp golden brown. Allow the soup to cool slightly, for about 3 minutes, before serving.

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