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Roast Figs, Sugar Snow
by Diana Henry
French onion soup, Normandy-style. Have a Kleenex ready—there's nothing quite like it for unblocking the sinuses!
Serves 8


    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    • 3 lb 5oz (1.5kg) onions, very finely sliced
    • 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 4 cups chicken stock
    • leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 8 slices bread from a baguette, toasted
    • 1 Camembert
    • 1 tbsp butter, melted


1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the onions. Saute them gently, turning them around in the butter, until they start to soften. Add a splash of water, cover with a lid, and sweat the onions until they are very soft and starting to caramelize. This can take up to 50 minutes. You will need to add a splash of water every so often and turn the onions over in the buttery juices.

2. Take the lid off and turn the heat up to medium so that the juices can evaporate and the onions can caramelize. I often end up adding the sugar after a while if it is not caramelizing well, but sometimes, if the onions have a lot of their own sugar, you don't need to.

3. When the onions are dark, add the cider, stock, and thyme and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4. A Ladle the soup into 8 heavy bowls that won't crack under a high heat. Put a slice or two of toast on each bowl of soup. Cut the Camembert into slices and lay them on top. Brush with melted butter and heat under the grill until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

"If I had a son who was ready to marry, I would tell him, 'Beware of girls who don't like wine, truffles, cheese, or music.'"


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