French Onion Soup is a classic that’s always in season! This version is scaled perfectly for a lovely dinner for two!
Sharing one of my all-time favorite soups!
The onion is a humble ingredient that usually serves to provide flavor to other dishes. Soupe a l’Oignon, simply known as French onion soup, elevates this culinary workhorse to star status and makes a luxurious bistro-inspired meal for two.
Onions are caramelized with herbs to a rich golden brown then simmered in a rich red wine-infused broth and topped with crusty, cheesy bread!
Caramelizing onions is definitely a labor of love. However, the result is well worth it!
Tips for caramelizing onions:
Flavor-wise, there is no substitute for the low-and-slow stovetop method.
I’ve tried numerous ways to speed the caramelizing process, including doing a large batch in a slow cooker and adding a pinch of sugar. The result was brown onions with absolutely NO flavor!
I’ve tried salting the onions right away and also not salting the onions until they were done. Both took between 45 minutes to 1 hour to achieve a rich, golden brown color. I now salt the onions after they’ve softened up a bit and focus on their flavor rather than the time it takes to caramelize them.
Caramelized onions freeze well, so you may want to double or triple the onions to have them ready for another meal of this soup or for other recipes.
How to keep from crying when cutting onions:
- When working with a large volume of onions, place a small fan nearby to blow the tear-producing enzymes away from you.
- Cut close to your stovetop exhaust fan or near an open window.
- Refrigerating onions first will slow the production of those enzymes when the onion is cut.
How to make French Onion Soup:
- Gather and prep all the ingredients:
- Olive oil
- A bay leaf
- Fresh thyme
- All-Purpose Flour
- Red wine
- White wine or dry sherry (optional)
- Beef broth (or stock)
- French bread
- Gruyere cheese
- A good quality beef broth or stock is important for French Onion Soup. However, a good chicken broth, vegetable or mushroom broth may be substituted.
- Melt the butter and oil together in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the onions. Give it a good stir to coat with the fat…
- Cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes or so or until the onions begin to wilt. Give it a stir a couple of times as you don’t want the onions to EVER burn.
- Salt the onions, add the herbs and continue cooking over medium-low or low until the onions are golden brown. Stir frequently and watch them so they don’t burn as they’ll turn bitter.
- After 40 minutes or so, they should look like this! Golden, sweet, caramelized onions!
- Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
- Add the garlic and red wine and cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
- Add the flour and cook 1-2 minutes more.
- Add the beef broth, bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes or so until it’s slightly reduced.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.
This luxurious soup is finished with a topping of thick bread slices and melted Gruyere cheese. To do that:
- Preheat the broiler.
- Cut a small baguette into thick slices on an angle then top with shredded Gruyere cheese.
- The first and easiest way is to place the bread slices on a baking sheet, top with the grated cheese, broil for several minutes and serve atop the soup.
- The second way is to serve the soup gratinéed or baked in OVENPROOF bowls. Alternatively, toast the bread at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes, turning once. Place the croutons over the soup, sprinkle with cheese and broil briefly to brown the cheese.
- Serve immediately.
Lovely, cheesy oniony goodness! Perfect for a romantic, bistro-inspired dinner for two!
More elegant soup recipes:
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large yellow onions (about 2 pounds), halved and thinly sliced (8-9 cups)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth or stock
- 1 to 2 tablespoons dry white wine or dry sherry (optional and if needed)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small sourdough baguette, sliced into 4 thick pieces, ends discarded
- ¼ pound grated Gruyere cheese
- Heat a Dutch oven or another heavy pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions, stirring to coat with the fat.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes to soften them and to help bring out some of the moisture, stirring several times.
- Add the salt, bay leaf and fresh thyme. Leave uncovered, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring often so the onions brown evenly until the onions are a rich brown color, about 40-50 minutes more.
- Add the garlic and cook briefly for approximately 30 seconds. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
- Add the red wine, bring to a boil and cook 3-4 minutes or until almost evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the beef broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes or until reduced slightly.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper. Add the white wine or sherry, starting with 1 tablespoon. Add more to taste if needed. Keep warm.
- Preheat broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Top the bread with cheese. Broil until melted and beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes.
- To serve, ladle into bowls and top with cheesy croutons. Alternatively, toast the bread at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes, turning once. Place the croutons over the soup, sprinkle with cheese and broil briefly to brown the cheese. Serve immediately.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY - This soup or just the caramelized onions will freeze beautifully. Make the crouton topping when ready to serve.
MAKE AHEAD - Make the soup up to two days ahead of serving. Cool thoroughly and refrigerate. Make the crouton topping when ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 863Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 2477mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 35g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.