French onion soup

There are any number of recipes for this classic dish

Common themes or points are: Use of beef broth for stock; sugar to help camarelise the onion; white wine; gureye cheese for the topping. The following recipe is from Julia Child.

The onions for an onion soup need a long, slow cooking in butter and oil, then a long, slow simmering in stock for them to develop the deep, rich flavor which characterizes a perfect brew. You should therefore count on 2½ hours at least from start to finish. Though the preliminary cooking in butter requires some watching, the actual simmering can proceed almost unattended.

For 6 to 8 servings


    • 1½ lbs. or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
    • 3 Tb butter
    • 1 Tb oil
    • A heavy-bottomed, 4-quart covered saucepan
  • Cook the onions slowly with the butter and oil in the covered saucepan for 15 minutes.
    • 1 tsp salt
    • qtr tsp sugar (helps the onions to brown)
  • Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned an even, deep, golden brown.
    • 3 Tb flour
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.
    • 2 quarts boiling brown stock, canned beef bouillon, or 1 quart of boiling water and 1 quart of stock or bouillon
    • ½ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Off heat, blend in the boiling liquid. Add the wine, and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes or more, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning.
      (*) Set aside uncovered until ready to serve. Then reheat to the simmer.

    • 3 Tb cognac
    • Rounds of hard-toasted French bread (see recipe following)
    • 1 to 2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
  • Just before serving, stir in the cognac. Pour into a soup tureen or soup cups over the rounds of bread, and pass the cheese separately.


    • Croûtes—hard-toasted French bread
    • 12 to 16 slices of French bread cut ¾ to 1 inch thick
    • Place the bread in one layer in a roasting pan and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for about half an hour, until it is thoroughly dried out and lightly browned.
    • Olive oil or beef drippings A cut clove of garlic
  • Halfway through the baking, each side may be basted with a teaspoon of olive oil or beef drippings; and after baking, each piece may be rubbed with cut garlic.

Post mortem

Probably did’nt really carmelize the onions properly after leaving some of them to burn a little, but not so bad. Lots of butter used and also had to add quite a bit of salt and a whole pack of beef stock. Also added cognac at the end, but this seemed to put the kids off who found it too rich. Final result was actually not bad, but a lot of trouble. Baking the croutons also added something.

Net time…

  • Check the initial caramelization more closely.
  • Add some water at the end – actually it ended up coming up a little too much liquid.
  • May need salt, depending on the stock

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