French Onion Soup

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I can’t tell you how many restaurants at which I’ve eaten French onion soup. Basically, if it’s on the menu, I order it. This is a trait I’ve inherited from my dad, a man who only eats meat, potatoes, Caesar salad, and French onion soup.

Tom (and a couple of our friends) always makes fun of me, because it’s not exactly the most attractive  thing to eat out in public, what with trying to get gooey cheese into your mouth, while attempting not to slurp it in, Lady and the Tramp style. But, I don’t care. I love French onion soup.

I’ve made French onion soup many times, but it’s never really made it to the blog. Well, it sort of did—nearly 5 years ago—and without a picture. I haven’t changed the recipe much since then, but I have made a few tweaks, including reducing the butter and increasing the booze. I’ve tried many versions of this soup and always prefer a higher beef broth to chicken broth ratio. I’ve tried red wines and fortified wines, and my favorites have been sherry or vermouth—but really, you can use whatever you want and it will still be great.
I love this soup not only for its depth of flavor—achieved from caramelizing the onions, then cooking them in the wine, and the combination of a stronger beef broth with a lighter-flavored chicken broth—but also because it includes crusty bread and bubbly cheese, two of the best ingredients around. And, though I will continue to order it in restaurants time and time again, it’s great to eat it at home where others are eating the same thing, so you can all deal with the gooey-cheese-getting-into-your-mouth escapades.

French Onion Soup

  • 15 minutes
  • 75 minutes
  • 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6-8 (depending on size) yellow or Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2/3 cup sherry or vermouth
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Baguette slices
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • 1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded or sliced

Directions

  1. Use a large (at least 6 qt.) Dutch oven or pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring frequently. After a few minutes, add a pinch of salt. Continue cooking and stirring until the onions have wilted down and have begun to turn golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  2. Add the sherry and continue to cook until it has been absorbed by the onions, and the onions are dark brown in color, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the beef and chicken broth, and the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the broiler to high.
  5. Place baguette slices on a broiler-safe pan, and broil until toasted - not long, about a 1 minute. Rub the baguette slices with the garlic clove while still warm. Leave the broiler on.
  6. Place 6 broiler-safe bowls on a baking pan. Ladle the soup into the bowls, and top each bowl with a slice or two of baguette and a handful (or slice) of Gruyere. Broil until cheese is melted and browned, a few minutes.
Elly Says Opa

  • I am such a sucker for good French Onion soup. But the few times I’ve tried making it at home, it’s never quite as good. Can’t wait to try your version!

  • One of my favorites and on my “to make soon” list!

  • Well, my mouth watered. I’m a fan of FO soup too – this looks great!

  • Lady the Tramp style – LOL! Hey, however that cheesy, gooey goodness can make its way in!

  • I love your final touch of placing a baguette slice on top of the soup 🙂 Looks wonderful!

  • This is one thing (I’m almost ashamed to say) that I’ve never made at home, as much as I love it, too, and as apt as I am to order it out. Maybe it’s the pretty little soup pots i’m missing . . . .

  • when i make french onion soup i always put in just a little extra worcheshire sauce in it, and the smells the soup leaves lingering in the house for days are AMAZING!
    Great photo!

  • Definitely one of my favorite soups and I really should make it myself one day

  • This is my husband’s favorite soup too. He’s been asking me to make it lately. Will definitely save this recipe!

  • Please tell me your dad eats a few other things, like tzaziki, moussaka and youvetsi. Really, I can’t picture him any other way 🙂

    • elly

      He wouldn’t touch moussaka with a 10 foot pole. 😉

  • This looks perfect. Absolutely perfect!

  • I just like to tell myself that slurping makes me about twenty times more attractive. (This is why I’m still single.) I’m sure you look adorable while you do it, though! I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from slurping this soup!

  • Ali

    I agree french onion soup ain’t that much good looking but my wait till you have the first spoonful… so delicious. Its one of the best soups that i like.

  • Onions for me, are okay. Not really a fan of, I don’t dislike onions either. I am drawn however to your Onion soup. I am waiting for the next rainy afternoon to have this soup ready…

  • thanks for a beautiful photo & recipe, I’m definitely trying it this weekend.

  • Kim

    Just made this and it was SOO good!!! I added a little bit of worcestire and angostura bitters to the broth, mmm!!!

    • elly

      Glad you liked it, Kim! I’ve been meaning to add a little Worcestershire to the soup – I’ll try it next time!

  • Those French onion soups look so good! French onion soup is one of my favourite winter soups!

  • Dori

    Hi .
    Its like I found this treasure of creations WE could be food clones LOL I love all of these recipes ,I had this French onion soup In Hermosa beach California years ago and it was to die forwent back and the little hole in the wall was not there any more I was so bummed,Its like yours but Its creamy and I don’t know how they did it since we seem to be on the same cooking wave length I thought you might have an Idea about It.
    Thanks
    Dori

    • elly

      Hi Dori. My guess is they just added some heavy cream at the end, or after caramelizing the onions, added some flour to make a roux before adding the broth (and then still added a bit of cream at the end). I have an onion soup that is creamier in my blog here, but it’s not really French onion.

  • taffy

    ALTON BROWNS F.O.S. RECIPE MADE IN AN ELECTRIC SKILLET IT THE BEST IVE EVER HAD..CHECK YAHOO SEARCH FOR IT…THIS LOOKS GOOD TOO THOUGH..