I’m mad for French Onion Soup in winter, but sometimes think about ways to substitute the Gruyère crouton – just to ring the changes! My new crave, mushroom pâté spread thick on toasted country loaf floating in that pool of golden oniony deliciousness. Mushroom pâté is a doddle to make. Simply sauté finely chopped mushrooms (whatever kind you like – buttons work just fine!) with butter and finely diced onions, then add fresh thyme, garlic and Port, reduce down, season to taste and blitz. Or try the mushroom-onion mixture with lemon juice, nutmeg and cayenne before blending with mascarpone and ricotta. In case you’re keen on the soup too, here’s the legendary Julia Child’s recipe for French Onion Soup:

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