• Sarah Rainey

French onion bake


Half-soup, half-toastie, this bowl of hearty goodness will transport you somewhere cosy and warm on a cold day. I love French onion soup, topped with a hunk of crusty bread and grilled Swiss cheese - so it seemed logical to combine all the best bits into a bake.

As it cooks, the bread soaks up the salty broth, leaving caramelised onions and layer upon layer of melted cheese. It's made like a lasagne, so you get alternate mouthfuls of all the tasty morsels inside... and it's a great way to use up stale bread (and all those tins of soup that get forgotten at the back of the cupboard).

Serves 6 hungry people for lunch

Ingredients:

1 large French baguette

2 x 400g tins French onion soup

200g Swiss cheese (emmental or gruyère)

You’ll also need a dish to bake it in - I use a 3.2litre casserole dish, but you can use a lasagne/crumble dish or even a deep baking tray

Method:

Preheat the oven to 195C / Fan 175C. Grease the dish with a little butter.

Slice the baguette into long diagonal slices (around half an inch thick). Grate the cheese and decant the soup into a large bowl with a soup ladle for layering.

Now it's time to assemble the bake. Start with a layer of bread, ripping it into pieces to plug any gaps on the bottom of the dish. Next ladle over a third of the soup, ensuring you coat most of the bread. And finally sprinkle over a layer of grated cheese.

Continue until you've used up all the ingredients - depending on the size of your dish, there should be enough for roughly three layers.

Put the lid on the dish (or cover with tin foil) and bake it in the oven for 25 minutes. Take the lid off and bake it uncovered for 10 minutes more. The cheese should be melted and golden on top, the bread crisp and the soup bubbling through the layers.

Serve immediately - in bowls with spoons (and plenty of napkins!)

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Content © Sarah Rainey

Photos © Clare Winfield, Alex Luck & Al Richardson

Styling © Emma Lahaye, Octavia Squire, Laurie Perry & Sarah Rainey

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