Classic French Onion Soup

I’m taking a little time off over the holidays, recharging on family time, delicious traditional dinners and games. I hope you’re all having a relaxing time as well!

I wanted to say that I’m amazed by the quality of comments I’ve had on my previous post, the Montmartre Food Tour. It seems like Paris has seized many hearts! It makes me feel all warm inside (almost teary-eyed) to read that so many of you feel just as emotional about this city as I do. I think that’s the beauty of Paris: you go once, you feel like you belong.

Don’t forget that there’s still time to participate in the double David Lebovitz book giveaway! To enter, leave a comment on the Montmartre Food Tour post. I will randomly pick a winner this Friday, December 31th. Good luck to all!

Speaking of feeling warm inside, I wanted to share my recipe for another Paris classic: French Onion Soup. There’s nothing cozier than the rich smell of this soup simmering away on a cold winter day – except maybe, enjoying a bowl of this cheesy wonder by the fireside. This recipe yields a big batch of soup: freeze it in portions and you’ll enjoy many great (and quick) lunches in the weeks to come.

Classic French Onion Soup

Classic French Onion Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

The original recipe uses Sherry instead of wine, but I prefer to lower the soup’s sweetness by using a full-bodied red. I also add Dijon mustard, which is fairly common in French recipes; I find that it deepens the taste of the soup and gives it a little kick. Finally, I usually toast my bread and then cut it in cubes instead of using it in slices. Toasting keeps the bread crunchy and cubing makes the soup easier to eat!

Serves 10

5 tablespoons olive oil
4 pounds yellow onions, sliced into ¼-inch thick half circles
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup full-bodied red wine (like a Cab)
10 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Toasted day-old baguette bread (in slices or in cubes)
Grated Gruyère cheese – about ½ cup per serving

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot on medium-low heat. Add onions. Don’t worry if your pot seems crowded, the onions will soften and wilt quite a lot during cooking. Move the onions around to coat them with olive oil. Sprinkle with sugar and cook uncovered, stirring just as needed to keep onions from sticking, until they are melting and soft, golden brown and beginning to caramelize, about 1 hour.

Sprinkle flour over onions, and stir to coat. Add wine, stock, thyme and mustard, and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 45 minutes. Season with salt and plenty of pepper.

To serve: Ladle soup in ovenproof bowls. Arrange the bowls on a baking pan. Place enough bread cubes (or slices) to crowd the surface of the bowls. Sprinkle ½ cup cheese over each bowl and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and crusty brown around the edges. Watch carefully so that the bread doesn’t burn (although I love some charred bits here and there.) Serve immediately.

Two French onion soups under the broiler.

Classic French Onion Soup

What do you think of this recipe? Got any questions? Let's chat!

6 Responses to Classic French Onion Soup

    • It's easy to make (once you manage to chop all the onions – it makes me cry really badly!), cooking is mostly unattended. It's a deeply satisfying dish.

  1. I love french onion soup! And I may have forgotten to mention on your blog, but I received the cookbook and will get around to cooking something from it soon! I wish you a very happy new year!

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