What’s for Dinner: English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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What’s for Dinner: English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar

{photo by Caleb Campbell}

This week we have another Campbell family favorite recipe, this time from Caleb Campbell, a sloCAHS student. Thank you Caleb, for sharing this amazing-looking soup with Down Home!

English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar

Jamie Oliver

Serves 8

I made this recently and found it to be really simple but tasty. It seems like a lot of onions while you are cutting them up, but they cook down and provide the deeply flavorful base for the whole soup. This recipe calls for cheddar cheese, but I used Gruyère. (A regular Swiss cheese would probably also work well.) 


1 good knob butter

olive oil

1 good handful fresh sage leaves, 8 leaves reserved for serving

6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

5 red onions, peeled and sliced

3 large white onions, peeled and sliced

3 banana shallots, peeled and sliced

10.5 ounces leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

8.5 cups organic beef, vegetable or chicken stock, hot

8 slices good-quality stale bread, 2 cm thick

7 ounces Cheddar cheese, freshly grated

Worcestershire sauce

Put the butter, 2 lugs of olive oil, the sage and garlic into a thick-bottomed, non-stick pan. Stir everything round and add the onions, shallots and leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pan, leaving it slightly ajar, and cook slowly for 50 minutes, without colouring the vegetables too much. Remove the lid for the last 20 minutes – your onions will become soft and golden. Stir occasionally so that nothing catches on the bottom. Having the patience to cook the onions slowly, slowly, gives you an incredible sweetness and an awesome flavour, so don't be tempted to speed this bit up.

When your onions and leeks are lovely and silky, add the stock. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can skim any fat off the surface if you like, but I prefer to leave it because it adds good flavour.

Preheat the oven or grill to maximum. Toast your bread on both sides. Correct the seasoning of the soup. When it's perfect, ladle it into individual heatproof serving bowls and place them on a baking tray. Tear toasted bread over each bowl to fit it like a lid. Feel free to push and dunk the bread into the soup a bit. Sprinkle with some grated Cheddar and drizzle over a little Worcestershire sauce.

Dress your reserved sage leaves with some olive oil and place one on top of each slice of bread. Put the baking tray into the preheated oven or under the grill to melt the cheese until bubbling and golden. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn! When the cheese is bubbling, very carefully lift out the tray and carry it to the table. Enjoy.

Click here for a printable PDF of this recipe.

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