20 January 2018

Another week, another soup, in honor of National Soup Month.

This week’s soup, French Onion, was inspired by and made for a friend of mine who purchased a bag of onions a few weeks back with the intent of making this soup for herself.  Alas, she never quite got around to it.  So with her onions sprouting in a colander on her counter, I offered to make it for her.  She obliged with one condition, that I make enough to feed my family too.

Yes Maam!

French Onion Soup is a labor of love.  Although made with the simplest ingredients, a complex taste results BUT only if you cook it low and slow.  Like a relationship it requires patience, time and attention.  And like a relationship, with patience, time and attention it  turns into something rich and wonderful. The acrid becomes sweet, the sweet becomes full-filling.

This is a recipe that is perfectly suited to the winter when the larder is bereft of fresh vegetables and all that’s left is the long-lived onion, the lowest of the lot.  Despite its mean base this scrumptious soup is often reserved for special occasions, Valentine’s Day especially.  But don’t save it for a special day, make it a special day by serving this soup, sharing it with friends and family.



French Onion Soup for a Friend


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds of large yellow onions, halved and sliced into half circles
  • 3 large finely chopped garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 quarts beef stock (I make mine with beef bouillon and water)
  • 1/4 cup cognac (a rich red wine or sherry will do in a pinch)
  • Your favorite hearty bread, sliced
  • Shredded Gruyere, mozzarella or provolone cheese


  1. Heat the butter and oil together in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions (It is going to look like A LOT at first, but I promise you they cook down.) and cook, COVERED, for ten to twelve minutes,  stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and cook, UNCOVERED, for approximately one half hour or until the onions turn a deep, golden brown; stirring occasionally at first and then  more frequently as the onions begin to color, making sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan as the onions begin to caramelize.
  5. Sprinkle with flour and stir to blend.
  6. Stir in the white wine and bubble for 1 minute.
  7. Pour in the beef stock, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the saucepan and stirring well to combine.
  8. Reduce the heat to low, add the red wine or brandy and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  10. Slice your favorite hearty bread to fit your bowls and top with  shredded cheese.
  11. Toast your bread for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  12. Place a piece of cheese toast in the bottom of each bowl, ladle in hot soup and serve.
  13. Share.




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