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John Torode’s classic french onion soup

It’s soup season and John Torode is in the kitchen with his classic french onion soup served with cheesy croutons. Not only is it full of flavour but it's bang on budget as onions are the main ingredient and you can use leftover bread for the croutons!

French onion soup

Serves 4


50g butter                

4 -6 large onions, thinly sliced

50ml red wine vinegar

Ground black pepper

1 litre beef stock or hot water and beef stock cubes        

Salt and pepper

Splash brandy

Slices of bread cut from a baguette, lightly toasted

50g grated Gruyere cheese


1. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions and cook slowly and as they start to colour.

2. Add the vinegar and continue to cook until soft and lots of colour.

3. Add the ground pepper and a good amount of it and cook for a minute.

4. Add the brandy, stir and cook for a minute but don’t cook all the booze off.

5. Now take the stock and pour it over the onions, there should be as many onions as there is stock.

6. Bring to the boil and season if needed, be careful as stock can be salty, simmer for about 5 minutes.

7. Heat the oven to 200/gas 6.

8. Put the slices of bread into the oven for a few minutes to crisp up.  

9. Pour the soup into individual oven-proof dishes, float the bread on top so that it nearly covers the surface of the soup.  

10. Sprinkle lashings of the cheese over the bread, and give a season.

11. Place the dishes in the oven and cook for 4 or so minutes until bubbling and melted.

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