Onion and Cheese Soup under a Soufflé

Ingredients

  • 1 lb / 455 g onions, peeled and chopped
  • ½ pt / 280 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 pt / 1.15 l milk
  • 3 oz / 85 g butter
  • 3 oz / 85 g plain flour
  • 12 oz / 340 g farmhouse Lancashire cheese, grated
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, separated

Method

Using a non-stick pan, sweat the onion until transparent and just beginning to caramelize, but do not burn. Add the stock, and cook until the onion is soft.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200 °C / 400 °F / Mark 6, bring the milk to the boil and, in another saucepan melt the butter. Stir the flour into the butter, and cook for 5 minutes. Slowly add ¼ pt / 140 ml boiled milk, whisking it to prevent any lumps forming. Stir in the cheese until melted. Set aside 3 tablespoons of this roux mixture, and add the remaining milk to the roux remaining in the pan, stirring continuously. Add the onion and stock and mix well. Bring to the boil, and add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Divide the mixture between six ovenproof soup bowls placed on a baking sheet. Beat the egg yolks into the roux that you have set aside, whisk the whites to firm peaks, and gently fold the two together. Spoon this soufflé mixture on top of the soup bowls, and bake in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes. Serve at once.

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