French Onion Soup

When it’s Winter and it’s freezing cold outside, who doesn’t want a warming cup of soup?  French Onion Soup, like Chicken Noodle, is one everyone can agree on.  The trick is, there really aren’t any shortcuts to French Onion Soup.  You really need to take the time to cook down the onions and build up the flavor.

Stack of onions sliced on a mandoline for French Onion Soup

But when it’s done, you’ll be rewarded with one really flavorful soup.

Cup of French Onion Soup with Melted Cheese

When I first made this French Onion Soup, I had just finished making a big batch of Pressure Cooked Beef Stock, one made with short ribs.  It was one of the biggest, beefiest stocks that I’ve ever made…and I knew it would make a terrific base for the soup.

In the show Good Eats, Alton Brown recommends using an electric skillet to maintain a constant, low temperature for cooking the onions.  Not having one, I opted for a cast iron dutch oven.  It’ll take at least an hour to develop a deep caramelized color.  A touch of sugar and salt will speed the process.

After the onions are made, the beef stock goes in and you’ll summer for another half hour or so.

Finish by topping with toasted baguette and some grated Gruyere cheese.  A few minutes under the broiler and you’re all set.


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French Onion Soup
Prep time:
20 minutesCook time:
2 Hours

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

  • 2 White Onions
  • 1 Pound Yellow Onions
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Vermouth (or other flavorful liquor to geglaze)
  • 4 Cups Beef Stock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cup Gruyere (Grated)
  1. Using a mandoline, slice all of your onions
  2. Over medium low heat, melt the butter and then add the olive oil
  3. Cook the onions covered for about 20 minutes
  4. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt, turn up the heat to about medium and cook uncovered for another 45 minutes until a deep golden color is reached
  5. Add the flour and fully integrate. Give it about 5 minutes to work in
  6. Add the vermouth and dig into the pan to fully deglaze all of the cooked bits
  7. Add the stock and a bay leaf and simmer for 30 minutes
  8. While the stock is simmering, toast slied baguette in the oven for about 10 minutes on each side at 325 degrees and then fire up your broiler
  9. Ladle soup into a bowl, splash in some cognac (optional), top with bread and then cheese. Carefully broil until the cheese is melted, brown and bubbly

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