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Vive La French Onion Soup

french_onion_soupYou know that Delacroix painting where Lady Liberty, French flag in hand, surges forward calling to the people behind her to embrace the revolution? Notice the kid to her left waving his six-shooter in the air? He’s not after freedom. What he wants is a steaming crock of French onion soup. Seriously, once you have tasted a sip of this heavenly combination of caramelized onion and beef consomme, you’ll understand the revolutionary urge to stomp through the cobbled streets of Paris screeching for soup. To prevent any reckless behavior at cafés, restaurants and brasseries, we have devised our own version of this Parisian classic. Call it a mini revolution on our part.


Serves 4                                        Total Time: 1 hour 30 Minutes [15 minutes preparation; 75 minutes cooking]


2 tablespoons olive oil                                              Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter                                 ½ teaspoon sugar
5 onions, thinly sliced                                               2 cups dry white wine
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped                  2 ½ quarts beef broth or consommé
2 sprigs of fresh thyme                                             8 slices French baguette bread
2 bay leaves                                                                 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ (176.7℃).

2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 5-quart pot on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, then melt the butter.

3. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves to the melted butter and oil, then cook covered for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, and sugar. * Keep cooking the onions until they are soft and a deep brown color, stirring occasionally. This will take about 35 minutes total. Do not worry if the onions burn a little.

4. Add enough wine to cover the onions and increase the heat to high. The wine will add flavor and deglaze the burnt onion bits from the pot. After about 5 minutes, the liquids should have reduced, concentrating the flavor. At this point the onions should be nearly dry. Reduce the heat to low and add the broth. Simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves before serving.

5. While the onion soup is simmering, toast the baguette slices in the preheated oven until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside. Then preheat the oven’s broiler and move the oven racks to the top third of the oven. Ladle the French onion soup into 4 oven-proof soup crocks and float a baguette slice on top of each one. Cover the bread with the Gruyère cheese and place in boiler until the cheese is golden and bubbling, about 2 minutes.

6. Serve and enjoy!

* BT Tip: You can skip the sugar if you use a sweet onion such as a Vidalia onion.

8 replies »

  1. French onion soup. When it is disappointing it is so disappointing. When it is good it is very very good. Smells wonderful. The epitome of Onion…
    Which country are you in now?

    • Thanks for the link to the sculpture Jo! Looking forward to finding out more about that intriguing structure. As for french onion soup recommendations in Paris, I have a few. Try Au Bistrot de la Place on 2 Place du Marche Ste. Catherine near the Hotel-de-ville, Carette at 25 Place des Vosges, or La Terrasse du 7eme on 2 Place de L’Ecole Militaire near the Invalides. I have had French Onion soups at each of these and they have been very good!

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