French Onion Soup is an all-time favorite at many Parisian bistros and restaurants. In France, onion soup remains a staple of many rural households, kept simmering on the stove and eaten daily, often for breakfast. It was made of anything cheap or that which grew plentifully in the garden—and the onion certainly qualified. The addition of cheese is what makes it marvelous.

  •  6 T. butter
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 4 lbs. medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 t. sugar
  • salt
  • 1 T. flour
  • 8 c. beef stock (homemade is best, but if not, use Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 2 c. dry white wine (Julia Child suggests French vermouth with 5 T. of Cognac)
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 lb. Gruyère cheese, shredded

1. Melt 3 tbsp. of butter and the oil in a heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, uncover, and add the sugar and season to taste with salt. Saute, stirring often until onions are soft and deep golden brown.

2. Reduce heat to medium , sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add about 2 cups of stock and stir to blend. Reduce down to nearly dry pot to condense flavors. Add remaining stock and wine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.

4. Put a slice of toast in each of the oven-proof bowls, then fill with onion soup. Top with a thick layer of cheese and place bowls in baking pan. Bake until cheese has browned.  Or you can take puff pastry sheet and cut it into rounds about 2 inches wider than the diameter of the soup bowl.  Place the sheet on the top of the bowl, letting the sides fold over the rim, pinching light to secure.  Make an egg wash with one egg, a pinch of salt, and 2 T. water.  Brush the pastry with the egg wash.  Bake the soup with the pastry crust for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until brown. 

[VARIATION - NORMANDY STYLE ONION AND CIDER ONION SOUP WITH CAMEMBERT]

For an interesting variation on this recipe, try it Normandian-style.  Substitute apple cider for the wine, with a 1/4 c. calvados apple brandy, and top with Camembert cheese grilled on slices of the baguette.