French Onion Soup



“I really can’t stay, but baby it’s cold outside….”


Listen to that song and eat this soup, they go so well together. Warm and cheesy soup goes really well with most holiday songs actually. I love me some French onion soup. If it’s on the menu when we go out to eat, I’m sure to get it. I kind of always assumed there was a huge mystery surrounding the ingredients and preparation. Yeah, there isn’t. It’s really quite straight-forward. Onions, beef stock, and some yummy herbs then melt some cheese over a chunk of toasty bread and you’ve got French onion soup. Not a lot of secrets, just some thyme, pun intended.

Start with your onions. Slice them and throw them into a large soup pot with some hot oil and a tablespoon or two of salted butter. Sprinkle with salt (to draw out the liquid) and some black pepper. Go easy on the salt at first, you can always add more, you can’t take away though. If you’re feeling wild, go for the red pepper flakes (like me) and you’ll have a subtle hint of heat throughout. I threw in a splash of balsamic vinegar, 2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (you can fish it out later when all the little leaves have fallen off) and a teaspoon of sugar.


Let those cook down and get really dark and caramelized. We’re talking about an hour or so. Low and slow baby. Low and slow. After about 30 minutes of cooking, I threw in some minced garlic or shallots (whichever you have on hand is fine). Let that go for an additional 30 minutes or so, like I said, about an hour.




When the onion mixture is dark and beautiful, fish out the bay leaves and thyme stems then sprinkle in some flour. About a tablespoon. Turn the heat up a little, and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add a healthy gulp (about a cup) of wine (white or red is fine). With a wooden spoon, deglaze the bottom of your pan, getting all the yummy dark bits up. That’s where the yummy flavor is. Throw in about 1 1/2 quarts of beef stock, kick it up to high, let it boil for a few minutes, bring it down to a simmer, cover slightly and let it cook for a while, another 30 minutes or so. Like all soups, the longer you let it sit, the better. Give it a taste. Adjust as necessary.




Serves about 6


4 medium onions, sliced thin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 – 3 garlic cloves or shallots, minced
Olive oil, about 1 Tablespoon
2 Tablespoons salted butter
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Splash of balsamic vinegar, about 1 – 2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 quart beef stock (or broth), veggie is you’re going vegetarian
White or red wine, about a cup
1 – 2 Tablespoons white flour
Melty cheese, gruyere or swiss is perfect
Baguette slices



Preparation Instructions


Heat the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot set over medium heat. Slice your onions into half moons and get them into the pot. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar. Add the vinegar, bay leaves and thyme. Cook over medium low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add in your garlic or shallots and cook for another 30 minutes, over low heat, until the mixture is dark and caramelized, it may take longer than the additional 30 minutes. Be patient, it’ll get there.


When the mixture is dark brown, fish out the bay leaves and thyme. Sprinkle with flour, mix well and turn the heat up to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, break up the brown bits that are coating the bottom of the pan. The wine will help to release them. Let the wine evaporate, about 5 minutes.


Add the stock and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 2 minutes. Bring the heat down to a simmer and cover slightly. Let the soup cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and season accordingly.


Get your croutons ready. I don’t have fancy soup bowls that are oven ready, so I make the cheesy croutons then put them on top of my soup bowl. Same flavor, just without the ridiculously hot bowl. If you have fancy bowls, ladle the soup into the bowls, top with baguette and a slice or two of cheese. Set it under the broiler until brown and bubbly. If you’re not using an oven ready bowl, do the same thing, just put your toast on a piece of aluminum foil and set under the broiler. I like to sprinkle a bit of kosher salt over the soup right before serving.





24 Response to French Onion Soup

November 28, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Mmm, this looks delicious. I love your blog. I am following you for sure!

November 28, 2011 at 12:41 PM

This soup sounds crazy delicious! Awesome job!

November 28, 2011 at 3:12 PM

your recipe for onion soup is almost identical to mine (I don't put the balsamic in, but will give it a shot the next time). Thanks for checking out my site. I know I will be spending a lot of time on yours!

November 28, 2011 at 3:30 PM

My favorite soup! I love it, and the balsamic in yours! I usually put a bit of dijon mustard in mine for some punch. Love it!

November 28, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Thanks for saying hi on my blog...your photography is beautiful and I live in San Diego...hi to a fellow SoCal lady :)

November 28, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Finally we are having some cold weather, I want to run and make this soup, looks delicious.
Thanks for visiting me today. I didn't know about your blog and is a keeper!

November 28, 2011 at 6:22 PM

This is my husband's favorite soup! Thanks for the beautiful photography, great recipe, and clear instructions - and for the comment on my blog, too. BTW - I also live in Southern California (LA). Following you now - look forward to seeing what else you have in store!

November 28, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Mmm I LOVE french onion soup! Definitely trying this on some cold and snowy weekend afternoon this winter!

November 28, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Ah this looks amazing! Your blog and pictures are beautiful. Looking forward to reading through more of your entries

November 28, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Oooh one of my favorites and your version looks delicious!

November 28, 2011 at 8:00 PM

I have never had French Onion Soup before. Have always wanted to try it, but just have yet to. Your recipe looks so good, so I think this is going to light the fire under my rear and get me to try it!!!! :D

PS: Where in SoCal are you?

November 28, 2011 at 9:42 PM

this looks very comforting :) perfect for our chilly weather here in OR right now.

November 28, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Now THIS is what I'm talking about. Low and slow. That's where the good soups come from!

November 29, 2011 at 5:26 AM

wow...irresistable n hearty soup..
just found your space..lovely space you have..
excellent posts with nice presentation..
love your stunning cliks..
Am your happy follower now.;)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

November 29, 2011 at 8:09 AM

Gotta love this classic. Your cheesy toasts nestled on top of the soup bowl look positively delicious. I'd like to snatch one of them right now!

November 29, 2011 at 9:21 AM

I am definitely making this today!

November 29, 2011 at 3:05 PM

What a gorgeous plate of comfort! Love this.

November 29, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Wow, Meredith this is a feast for the senses! And a great meal on a night like tonight! :) Thanks for saying hi!

November 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM

this soup looks delicious ! perfect for a cold day. thanks for stopping by. you're food photos are gorgeous :-)

November 30, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I love French onion soup but haven't tried making it. Will now after seeing your recipe. Looks really good!

December 4, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Meredith ... you are confirming my interest! Please see -

I have asked you to be part of a blogging fun thing ... hope you decide to be a part of it all and pass it on ...

In the meantime, I'll be baking French bread this week and making this soup ... it's so much a classic!

December 5, 2011 at 5:32 AM

What a wonderful soup. You've written about it in such a way that even a beginning cook could make it well. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary.

December 12, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Mary: Hope it works out well for you!

December 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM

This looks yummy! French onion soup is pretty much the only way I can enjoy onions.

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