I tasted this soup at one of my favourite Bristol restaurants, Wallfish, and begged the chef, Seldon Curry, for the recipe. It sounds like a lot of onions and butter – it is – but trust me it works. He used a local Somerset cheese called Ogleshield but I’m suggesting the more widely available raclette here.
Melt the butter in a large pan and tip in the onions. Stir thoroughly then add the salt, bay leaves and wine. Put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes until deliciously soft and sweet. Sprinkle over the flour, stir and cook for 5 minutes then gradually add the milk, stirring until smooth, and continue to cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, add the raclette then take off the heat, cool and pass in batches through a blender until smooth*. You can sieve/ strain it for extra smoothness if you want. Return to the pan, check the seasoning, adding a touch more milk if you need to thin it down. To serve, ladle into warm bowls, drizzle the rapeseed oil over the soup and sprinkle over the chopped hazelnuts and parsley.
- 125g butter
- 1.25kg white onions, finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons dry white wine
- 25g/3 tablespoons plain flour
- 600ml/21/2 cups whole milk, plus extra if you need it
- 175g/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon grated raclette or Ogleshield cheese
FOR THE GARNISH
- 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 75g/1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
* If you only have a food processor rather than a blender I’d suggest straining the onions after you have cooked them then processing them into a purée, adding about half the reserved liquid. Sprinkle the flour into the remainder of the liquid then cook it out and add the milk as described above. Add this mixture back to the purée along with the cheese and whizz again.
What to drink
A smooth, dry white wine such as a Soave or Roero Arneis.
Recipes are from Wine Lover’s Kitchen by Fiona Beckett, with photography by Mowie Kay. Published by Ryland Peters & Small and available from all good booksellers.