French Onion Soup


  • 3 pounds onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • A few good grinds of black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-6 cups beef, veal, and/or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 cups red wine, preferably a burgundy, OR
  • 2 cups beer, preferably a brown ale or stout (not chocolate)
  • 1 baguette or other crusty bread
  • 4-6 deli slices of cheese, OR
  • 1/2 cup EACH of gouda, gruyere, parmesan & pecorino


1 _ Slice & segment 3 pounds of onions.

2 _ Melt together the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot.

3 _ Crush and peel the garlic. You don't have to mince it; it will caramelize and turn soft and sweet as it cooks. Caramelize the garlic in the olive oil and butter.

4 _ Pour in the onions, season with salt and pepper, and stir around just until the onions are all coated in the olive oil/butter.

5 _ Add in the fresh thyme and the bay leaf and let the onions caramelize, about 20 minutes.

6 _ Once the onions are caramelized and have cooked down, pour in the stock, about 4-6 cups depending on whether you prefer your soup more onion-y or more soup-y.

7 _ Then, pour in the wine or beer and simmer, uncovered, for at least an hour and as much as three hours, tasting occasionally to adjust the flavors.

8 _ Meanwhile, slice down your bread. Stale bread is perfectly okay for this, just heat it up a bit in a warm (250ºF) oven first to soften it. Toast the bread; you can rub both sides with a cut clove of garlic first, if you like. You'll want 2 pieces of bread per person - one for the bottom of the bowl, and one for on top.

9 _ If you're going for the mix of cheeses, grate together about 1/2 cup each of parmesan, pecorino, gouda, and gruyere. Alternatively, you can drape a deli-cut slice of cheese (emmentaler, gruyere) over the top of the bowls, but I like to do a grated mix. Get that ready, and set it aside.

10 _ Preheat your broiler. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the soup.

11 _ Arrange your oven-safe individual serving bowls or coffee mugs on a baking tray with a thin lip.

12 _ TO SERVE: drop a toast slice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle in the soup and cover with a second slice of toast. Then cover the toast with cheese. Be generous! You want the cheese to seal in the soup and drape over the edge of the bowl.

13 _ Broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling on top. Garnish with a little fresh thyme, and serve.