French Onion Soup

French onion soup is one of my absolute favorite soups of all time.  The only obstacle to this dish is the mountain of onions you must slice, but it’s totally worth it (plus, I just wear my swimming goggles so I don’t cry, hahaha.  It’s quite a sight).  There are a million versions of French onion soup, and this is mine.  First, I think it’s best made with some red wine and some Brandy.  It makes for a really awesome flavor and aroma.  Another really important part of the soup is to use a mixture of beef stock and beef broth.  If you taste the two side by side, you will notice a huge difference in flavor.  The beef stock has rich, full flavor, while the beef broth almost tastes like water.  That beef stock is very important!  Let’s make some French onion soup:
Serves 4-6

4 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 5 large onions)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine (recommended: Sherry)
1/3 cup Brandy liqueur
3 bay leaves
26 oz package beef stock (not broth)
32 oz package beef broth
20 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string (no dried, please)
sliced baguette, toasted
8 oz gruyere cheese


Place the sliced onions in a big pot and season with a couple big pinches of salt.  Add the olive oil, and give it a stir to coat.  Cover with a lid, then bring the heat to medium.  Let the onions sweat for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, and let the onions cook for another hour, and be sure to stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure the onions aren’t burning.  Yes, caramelizing the onions take a long time, but it’s worth it!  Halfway through they will have reduced down and taken on some good color:

After a full hour, they look like this:
Once the onions are caramelized and brown, and have reduced down in volume, add the red wine and the brandy.  Raise the heat to medium high and let the alcohol cook out by about half.

Add the bay leaves, beef stock, beef broth, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for 1 hour.  If you’re curious, taste the soup every 15 minutes.  Notice how much more flavorful it is after each 15 minutes that go by.  If your soup reduces down too much, add water to restore the original consistency.

To serve, ladle the soup into ovenproof soup bowls.  Float a few slices of toasted baguette on top, and add a handful of gruyere cheese.  Broil the tops for a few minutes until the cheese gets bubbly and brown.  Enjoy!

Click here for the printable recipe.

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15 Responses to French Onion Soup

  1. Ooh, love your version of this infamous soup.
    I made your rosemary croccantini this afternoon, they turned out super. Now just to find another minute to do a post about them.
    Have an awesome weekend.
    🙂 Mandy

  2. Brandy? Well OK. I can’t even describe how awesome this looks with all that cheese!

  3. I love French onion soup! In the 80’s (before we knew better) we would always order it at TGI Friday’s! That really dates me doesn’t it? Gorgeous recipe!

  4. Wow this look amazing! all that cheese!

  5. That looks so hearty and flavoursome! I wish I could have been there to smell the fantastic aromas that must have filled your kitchen. Great recipe!

  6. I want to eat this soup right now! It looks wonderful! And how perfect for this time of year!

  7. LOL! I could totally see you in swimming goggles cutting up onions! I’m allergic to cats and we have two. My daughter wants me to give her cat a bath and she brought me swimming goggles to wear so I don’t have an allergic reaction! Silly girl.

    This soup looks and sounds awesome! French onion is my favorite too.

  8. Jennifer says:

    YUM! I can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks delicious! =)

    By the way, I think you should totally do a video of you preparing this…. complete with swimming goggles, hehehe =)

    • Joanne says:

      HAHAHAHAAHA. Maybe I will get the guts to make fun of myself and do that someday! Right now I’m still warming up to the camera, sans swimming goggles LOL.

      • Jennifer says:

        You’re doing great with the videos =) You’re a natural! Keep them coming; they are a great addition to walk us through the recipes =)

  9. Ann says:

    French Onion Soup is a favorite of mine, too. This looks delicious (as always!)

  10. Yuummmmm. I love French onion soup and your version looks absolutely perfect!

  11. When my son was 6, he helped me make Thanksgiving dinner by slicing onions…and he put his swim goggles on 😉 The pictures are just hysterical! You doing the same thing brought back a precious memory 🙂

    And this recipe sounds fantastic. I think maybe this is part of what we’ll have for dinner tonight…thanks! (Later this week, I’m going to make your brisket.)

    • Joanne says:

      LOL! Char, that is too funny! They work great…I admit…I use them pretty much every time I cut onions. They are in my kitchen tools drawer LOL.

      Oh YAY! This soup is fantastic…seriously. Let me know how the brisket goes and also if you make the soup. Cheers!

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