A true French classic that is wonderfully satisfying to make at home. This recipe always conjures up a memory I have of being bundled into a Parisien cafe by my mother to hide from the dark and wet weather outside. At the back of a thickly carpeted room with plush red velvet curtains I got my first taste of this comforting soup.
- Heat the butter in a large casserole over a medium heat and add the onions. Season with sea salt and cook gently, stirring frequently until they are a rich dark brown colour- this can take up to 30 minutes so have patience.
- Stir in the flour and thyme until the flour is evenly combined. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Pour over the stock and cover.
- Cook gently for about 30 minutes. Stir through the brandy and check the seasoning.
- Meanwhile, lightly toast the bread under a medium grill, remove and rub all over with the garlic clove. Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls set on a heavy baking sheet, place a slice of bread in each one and place a mound of grated cheese in the centre of each one. Place under a hot grill until the cheese is melted and golden.