Soupe à l’oignon gratinée au comté

Onion Soup with Comté Cheese


This soup is at the heart of French cooking. It is made in homes and brasseries right across France and loved by all. You will need some really good onions, like the white ones from Provence or your local farmer’s supply. Being from Franche-Comté, I think this dish tastes best when the croûtons are made with the famous Comté cheese. The combination of rich, golden cheese melting into the tangy, glistening onions makes it second to none. A great one to keep on the stove to share with a friend after a night out.

Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes


  • 85 g/3 oz butter
  • 6 onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp red wine
  • 100 ml/ fl oz/scant ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 4 thick slices baguette
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g/ oz Comté cheese, grated
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes or until they are a golden colour. Stir often so they don’t burn. Sprinkle with the flour and cook for a further 10 minutes until the onions start to brown.

In a heatproof jug, mix together the wines and 1.75 l/60 fl oz/7 cups boiling water, then slowly pour the mixture over the onions, stirring continuously to prevent lumps. Bring to the boil over a high heat, skimming away any impurities from the surface, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper. If it seems too sour, add a little sugar to taste.

Meanwhile, to make the cheesy croûtons, preheat the grill to high. Put the baguette slices on a baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Grill for 4–5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown, being careful not to burn the edges of the baguette.

Divide the soup into bowls, pop the croûtons on top and enjoy. If it is less than heavenly, I want to know why!