My Recipe Box

French Onion Soup

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Serves six.

Yields 9 cups.

Served with a tartly dressed green salad, this soup is hearty and filling enough for a light supper. I like the convenience of using chicken broth, but if you have a good beef broth on hand, feel free to use it for even deeper flavor.

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 large yellow onions (about 3-1/4 lb. total), sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine (not oaky), such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
  • 8 cups homemade chicken or beef broth, or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley, 1 sprig fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf tied together with kitchen twine
  • 1 baguette, cut into as many 3/8-inch slices as needed to cover six soup crocks
  • 1-1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) grated Gruyère cheese

In a large, wide soup pot (at least 4-1/2 qt.), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. (It might seem like you have far too many onions, but they'll cook down to about one-quarter of their original volume.) Cook the onions gently, stirring frequently, until they're very soft and have begun to turn a dark straw color, 35 to 45 min.; I like them when they're still a little toothy and haven't yet begun to brown too much.

When the onions are ready, stir in the flour and cook for 3 to 4 min., stirring frequently. Pour in the wine and increase the heat to medium high, stirring and scraping to loosen any caramelized juices, until the liquid is mostly reduced, 5 to 8 min. Add the broth, toss in the tied herbs, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 min. to infuse the broth with onion flavor; the onions should be soft but not falling apart. Remove the herb bundle and taste the soup for seasoning. The soup can be made ahead to this point and then cooled and refrigerated for a few days.

To serve -- Heat the oven to 350°F, put the baguette slices on a rack, and toast lightly (7 to 10 min.); set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Set six ovenproof soup crocks on a heavy baking sheet and ladle the soup into the crocks. Float a few toasted baguette slices on top, enough to cover the soup surface without too much overlap. Top the bread with a handful (about 1/4 cup) of the grated Gruyère. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and just browning in spots, 10 to 12 min.

Melted, bubbly, just barely golden cheese is what you're after. Serve the soup right away, while the crock is hot and the cheese is still gooey.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 460; Fat (g): fat g 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 11; Protein (g): protein g 17; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 44; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 710; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 50; Fiber (g): fiber g 6;

Photo: Steve Hunter

It was fine, but I wasn't impressed. I did make one error that may have contributed (I only remembered to put the bay leaf in about 5 minutes before it was done) but the overall experience wasn't as good as I'd hoped. Mine turned out rather sweet and almost totally lacking in the tangy and deep earthy flavors key to a good French onion soup. True this is a lighter version, but in my estimation it was more than light; it just wasn't something I was proud to serve. I'm grateful to cooks who are working on French onion soup recipes that incorporate chicken stock (since I don't eat beef) but this one needs more work before I'll serve it again.

When looking for a simple and inexpensive cooking solution for interesting meals, I always use College Inn Broths and stocks. This message is being posted on behalf of Del Monte and we hope that it is of interest for you.

As per usual, a "Fine Cooking" recipe that got rave reviews at the dinner table! Very flavorful with just the right amount of onions. It was served on a very cold winter night; everyone said that it could have been a meal just in itself! Thanks! Your magazine makes us better cooks with every recipe; love you guys!

This soup was so good. I had to make two changes for the convenience of my mom and friend. My mom is allergic to dairy and my friend is a vegetarian. So I made the soup with mushroom broth and topped it with cheddar goat cheese. I was doubtful, however, it turned out fantastic.

The soup is so wonderful and I think part of the reason is that we made our own fresh chicken stock which takes another 4 hours to prepare.

I had some wonderful homemade chicken stock I wanted to use up and I wanted to try it in an onion soup. I found this recipe and it was very good and lighter tasting than using the beef stock I usually use. I used red and yellow onions, used about half the wine (hubby doesn't like too much wine flavor in his food) -- a Pinot Grigio (I enjoyed drinking a glass while cooking this, too) -- and I used Parmesan Reggiano instead of the Gruyere. All was very tasty and I'd definitely make it again...I know my son wants me to...this recipe is "teen approved!"

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