Onion, leek and bay soup

  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Join Kathy Bishop and Tom Crowford with this hearty autumn soup from their West Country smallholding

Onion, leek and bay soup

We’re slowly winding down for winter. Hay is stacked for the sheep, and the beehives are tucked up with insulation. The last orchard medlars need picking. There are leeks to harvest from the vegetable patch, while onion and garlic sets need planting. In the kitchen, this year’s braided alliums dangle from the ceiling between a bubbling tank of cider, which is almost ready to bottle, and empty egg racks (the chickens are on a break). Dinner is often deep bowls of soup. Comfort for cold nights.



  • Unsalted butter 60g
  • Bay leaves 5 large
  • White onions 1kg, thinly sliced
  • Leeks 400g, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
  • Garlic 4 fat cloves, thinly sliced
  • Plain white flour 2½ tbsp
  • Dry apple cider 200ml
  • Chicken stock 1l
  • Apple cider vinegar 1–2 tbsp


  • Step 1

    Melt the butter in a large stock pot over a low heat and then stir in the bay leaves, onions, leeks and garlic. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt, then leave everything to cook down slowly, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened almost to the point of collapse and significantly reduced in volume. This will take up to an hour.

  • Step 2

    Sprinkle over and stir in the flour, then add the cider and stock. Turn up the heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Let the soup putter away for 15 minutes or so, until it has thickened up.

  • Step 3

    To finish, add the apple cider vinegar a little bit at a time, tasting as you go – too much will ruin the soup, but the right amount will freshen it beautifully. Season with black pepper and sea salt to taste.

The Seasonal Table

Kathy and Tom combine running their Somerset smallholding with full-time jobs, and also find time to write a blog called 
The Seasonal Table – a journal of slow food and slow living. 

Find out more about The Seaonal Table: