This classic homemade French onion soup is made with such simple ingredients but packs a huge amount of flavour. This soup combines caramelized onions, beef broth, fresh thyme, crusty bread and of course – melty cheese – making it a fabulous lunch or dinner choice.
And there’s something about my mother’s 70’s French onion soup bowl set that makes it really special every time I make this recipe. They were handmade back in the day when French Onion Soup was all the rage. Around the same time as fondues, I think – I have one of those original pots too but that’s another recipe.
I think the key to this soup is the patience required to caramelize the onions but well worth the effort with the end result. This soup is great as a lunch or dinner choice and pairs nicely with a crispy fresh green salad. This recipe makes 4 servings. Great soup for a cool winter night!
French Onion Soup
- 4 or 5 medium-sized white onions sliced very thinly
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp each sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- splash of olive oil for bread
- 8 slices French or ciabatta bread
- 2 cups Swiss or Gruyere cheese grated Shredded Italiano blend works really well too!
- Start by caramelizing the onions by melting the butter and olive oil in a large pot. on medium heat. Add sliced onions in batches to allow them to soften up so you are not adding all at once. Stir to coat with butter-oil mixture and continue stirring off and on for 10 or 15 minutes until onions are transparent. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking on medium to low heat allowing the onions to darken in colour and scraping any brown bits from pan. You can add a splash of water or broth to the pan if they seem to be drying out. This process will take about 30 to 40 minutes and they should be a light golden brown.
- Add garlic, beef broth, wine, Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaves and cover to simmer for about 30 minutes while you prepare the bread for browning.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into slices about 3/4 to 1" thick and arrange on a cookie sheet. Depending on the size of the bowl and bread you may need one or two per bowl. Brush the bread lightly with olive oil and place in the oven to toast until slightly brown and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Place 4 soup bowls on a cookie sheet and ladle soup into each bowl until fairly full. Arrange bread pieces on top the soup and top each with about 1/2 cup of grated cheese.
- Place soup bowls in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Finish under the broiler until they are bubbling and cheese is golden and melty. Serve immediately.