French Onion Soup
delicious recipe appears in full at this website.
Makes 6 to 8 one-cup servings.
2 1/2 pounds yellow onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine, optional
1/4 cup brandy, optional
6 to 8 baguette slices, toasted
1 1/2 to 3 cups shredded Gruyere or Parmesan cheese (1/4 to 1/2 cup per
Minced raw shallot or onion, to garnish
Chef's knife and cutting board
4-quart or larger heavy pan, such as a deep sauté pan or
Oven-safe bowls or mugs, optional
Baking sheet or dish
- Cut each onion top to bottom: Peel away
- Slice into half moons: Slice each half of
the onion into thin, evenly-sized half moons.
- Cut the half moon slices in half: You
will have at least 6 cups of chopped onions. But don't worry too much
about quantities with this recipe; if you have an extra onion to use up,
throw it in!
- Melt the butter with the oil: Melt the
butter in the pan set over medium-low heat.
- Add the onions: After the butter foams up
and then settles down, add the onions and stir to coat with the butter.
- Cover and cook for 15 minutes: Cover the
pan and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
- Season the onions: Remove the lid. The
onions should have wilted down somewhat. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, a
generous quantity of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar (this helps the
- Cook the onions for 40 minutes to 1 hour: Turn
the heat up to medium and cook, uncovered and stirring every few minutes,
until the onions are deeply browned. Turn down the heat if the onions
scorch or stick to the pan; the browning doesn't come through burning, but
through slow, even caramelization.
- Heat the broth: As the onions approach a
deep walnut color, heat the broth in a separate pot.
- Add the flour: Add 3 tablespoons flour to
the caramelized onions and cook and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add broth and simmer for at least 1 hour: Add
the hot broth to the caramelized onions and bring to a boil. If using
wine, add this now too. Lower the heat and partially cover the pan. (If
you want to add other aromatics such as herbs or spices, do so now.) Cook
gently over low heat for at least 1 hour or until the broth is slightly
- Taste and season: Taste and season with
additional salt and pepper if needed. Add a finishing splash of brandy, if
- Top with toast and cheese: Heat the oven
to 350°F. Divide the soup between small but deep oven-safe bowls. Top each
with a slice (or two) of toasted baguette and sprinkle grated cheese in a
thick layer over the bread and up to the edge of the bowl.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes: Place the
bowls on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish. Bake until the cheese is
- Broil until the cheese is browned: Turn
the oven from bake to broil and broil the soup for 1 to 3 minutes or until
the cheese is browned and bubbling. Remove carefully from the oven and let
cool for a few minutes before serving on heatproof dishes or trivets.
Serve with freshly ground pepper and minced fresh onion or shallot, which
provides a welcome bite in contrast to the very sweet and mellow soup.
- Flour Optional: The flour added to the
onions gives the soup a little bit of thickness and body, just enough to
nudge it beyond broth-with-onions. But it's optional; if you want to keep
it gluten-free just omit the flour.
- Raw Onion Garnish: The raw onion or
shallot garnish is a really great part of this recipe, in my opinion. It's
a classic garnish for French onion soup and it balances the sweet soup
with a bit of bite and crunch. Try it!