- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 large onions, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 tbsp brandy
- 5 fresh sprigs thyme, leaves picked, plus more for garnish
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 round bread bowls
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 16 slices gruyere cheese
- In a saucepan over a medium to high heat, add the oil, butter, and onions. Stir together and turn to low heat, covering with a lid or a cartouche. Cook very slowly for 30 minutes, until onions are completely softened and sweet.
- Next, turn back to medium to high heat and cook until the onions are golden-brown. Stir occasionally so nothing catches on the bottom. Make sure to caramelize the onions to a deep golden color, as it will impart flavor to the soup.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute, followed by white wine and cook until the liquid has reduced slightly.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the brandy and thyme, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Stir together and reduce the heat slightly. Cook gently for about 30 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Slice the top off the bread boule and hollow out the center, leaving a 1-inch wall to stop any leakages. Drizzle the whole bowl with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Lay the gruyere slices around the rim of the bowl, upturn the ‘lid’ of the bowl, then drizzle with olive oil and lay gruyere on top.
- Place in oven for 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.
- Next, turn the oven to broil.
- Ladle the soup into the bread bowls and lay 2 more gruyere slices on top of the soup.
- Broil until the cheese has melted and golden brown on top.
- Serve immediately with a good grinding of black pepper and extra thyme.
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