All-The-Alliums Soup – or onion and garlic, to you and me…


Serves 4

700g assorted onions – I managed to use up half a red one, a large white one, six straggly spring ones and a contender for the worlds smallest shallot, but any old onions will do, even dried up stragglers and bits and pieces…
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 tbsp oil (or butter if you’re feeling profligate, tis the season after all)
A pinch of salt
1 tsp mixed herbs, fresh or dried
2 tbsp vinegar – red, white or cider vin all work well to cut through the super sweetness of the onions
A splash of wine – red or white
1l good stock (vegetable for the vegans and vegetarians among you, but I used chicken myself…)

Finely chop and slice and dice your onions and garlic and toss into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the oil (or butter), and salt, and cook on the lowest heat your hob can manage, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent. I consulted my rather large copy of the Leiths Cookery Bible for classic onion soup guidance and exclaimed aloud when I read that the onions should be cooked for at least an hour. Pfffffft, I said. ‘That’s about right…’ nudged my girlfriend, a chef with 25 years experience and a few onion soups under her belt. And so, an hour it was. And it was worth it, for soft and succulent sweet onion soup, but if the thought of sweating onions for an hour fills you with dread, they soften beautifully after 20 minutes and you’ll still have a pretty good base to work with, just use a little less vinegar…

When your onions are soft soft and delicious, pour over the wine, then stock, then vinegar. Add the herbs, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for a further 15-60 minutes, depending on patience, budget, electricity bills, etc. To cheat, boil furiously for a few minutes then remove from the heat and cover with a plate or lid or tin foil and leave to stand for an hour to cool completely, then warm through to serve. The covering retains some of the heat so it carries on cooking, without chewing away at your gas or electricity supplies – it’s a trick I love and use often!!

When ready, serve – I had mine with toast spread thinly with mustard, topped with cheese – delicious and decadent and just the thing for a chilly winters evening…

Jack Monroe. Twitter & Instagram: @MsJackMonroe


  1. Sounds good! 2 comments. 1: You don’t list wine in the ingredients: how much is necessary? Red or white?
    2. If you don’t just cover the pan after bringing it to the boil, but wrap it in a towel, some bubble-wrap, blankets, etc, it’ll stay really hot and continue cooking for free for at least an hour.

  2. Wow! That like a great idea! I wonder if I might be able to do it in a good old fashioned pressure cooker, to reduce cooking time to about 15-20 minutes? Maybe add a couple of dried red birdseye chillies to give it a bit of extra kick for those really subzero nights… My ex-wife used to make me sleep on the sofa after eating this sort of supper!

  3. I sweated the onions garlic and leeks down slow in a pan then put them in the slow cooker all day with the stock and other bits. Cheese and crusty bread to finish nom nom

  4. I love onion soup, warming, filling, healthy and cheap. I also love your posts, Jack. You’re a girl after my own heart (isn’t that a weird expression!)

  5. OMG! sounds perfect! I shall attempt to do this in slow cooker though, needs must and all that! thanks Jack, you may never realise quite how much X

  6. How did you know I have some onions and that, and too much butter? And that I would love an onion soup and now I can make it? Where did you learn telepathy?
    Yours very truly
    Astounded, Gobsmacked & Co.


    Oh, BTW – I am CompleatAngler at Twitter, I bother you now and then, I’m afraid. Cheers!

  7. Wondering why you don’t seem to use a pressure cooker? I cook loads of things in mine! Had two when my four children were little (and I was a single mum on benefit) – one for that day’s pulses, the other for soup 😉

  8. Tip: you can soften onions super quickly in the microwave, its still best to finish them up in the pan but it will cut the cook time in half (just a plastic bowl and a little oil and stir every minute or so)

  9. Sorry to be pedantic Jack, but does 1l mean 1 Lt . I’m new to this new fangled cooking malarky
    Love the blog. Best wishes.

  10. I love onion soup, and thought this would be cinch (certainly the Yorkshire puds were) but after an hour of cooking the onions they were soft, but not caramelized. I’ve gone ahead and added the stock, and several splashes of wine, and it tastes OK, but looks nothing like the rich red, almost mush that dream me in. Did I get onions too low, or what?

  11. I made this today. I had an open bottle of sherry so I used that instead of wine (I don’t like sherry but I use it in a black bean & carrot soup, which requires it). I used balsamic vinegar, but the soup has turned out slightly more vinegary than I liked, so next time I’ll use less. I had a huge bowl after swimming tonight, with a hummus and tomato sandwich. Yum.

  12. Looks Alli-yummy indeed!
    Love foragung for wild garlic and picking up the left oven onions which the farmers didn’t harvest. Perfect for it!

  13. Sooooo delicious! I made this a few weeks back while studying for finals and it made those weeks a bit more bareable 🙂 definitely going to be made more (need something to warm me up through my first Scottish winter)

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