(After watching a Jamie Oliver show on the Cooking Channel)
Jamie made it look dead simple, and it was, plus I got to use my new food processor! I’ll reduce everything next time – I had a bit too much oniony stuff relative to the beef stock. Or maybe I’ll just make sure I have more beef stock around!
But the olive oil was put into a large pot (it’s 8 quarts or better), and the sage and garlic was tossed in as well. Jamie used sage leaves, but I just had ground. I don’t have an English garden and a gardener, either…
The leeks, shallots, and onions were tossed in shortly after, seasoned with salt and pepper, stirred around a bit, and then just left to cook, slowly over medium heat, for about an hour, stirring every fifteen minutes or so. They lost about 75% of their volume over time.
Then I poured in the beef stock, and brought it back up to simmer for another fifteen or twenty minutes.
Slice the bread into half-inch thick croutons. If you have the presence of mind to do this ahead of time, the croutons can dry out a bit to their benefit.
Ladle soup into oven-proof bowls, arrange a crouton or two to cover the soup, then cover the croutons with the cheddar. Pop under a broiler for five or ten minutes until the cheese is melted and browned.