French Onion Soup

By Chef Max Straczek

Caramelized onions, rich flavourful broth, and gooey cheese create a delicious bowlful of comfort...


1 hr, 40 min cook time

Serves 6

Why we like it

If you looked up “Comfort in a Bowl” in my dictionary, you’d find a picture of French Onion Soup.

This soup is an ode to simplicity and a timeless masterpiece that can warm your heart and fill your stomach with every spoonful.

Depths of flavour are created with slowly caramelized onions, rich broth, and wine, wrap you in a comforting embrace, and gratinéed (read: with a browned crust and covering with cheese) toasted bread, topped with melted Gruyère and Swiss cheese elevate this ‘peasant-style’ soup into an all-time classic.

Ingredients

6 servings

Preparation Notes

A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs used to infuse subtle, aromatic flavours into soups, stews, and sauces and then removed prior to serving.

In Step 1 (below), we’ve included a simple version that compliments a French Onion Soup, but the combinations of bouquet garnies are endless.

Although a leek leaf will impart a wonderful, sweet onion-like flavour, it’s completely understandable that not everyone has leeks on hand at any given time.
In its place, the bundle can also be held together with cooking twine or inside a piece of cheesecloth.

Making the recipe

  1. Step 1

    Bouquet garni

    • Fold the sprigs of rosemary and thyme in half, top with the bay leaf, and then wrap with some green outer leek leaves or an appropriately sized piece of cheesecloth.
    • Next, tightly wrap about 6 inches of cooking twine around the bundle and fasten with a granny knot.
    Next step
  2. Step 2

    Caramelize onions

    • Slice onions thinly.
    • Heat a large pot oven over medium heat, then add olive oil, onions, minced garlic, and salt.
    • Cover and slowly cook for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Remove the lid and allow the mixture to caramelize.
    Next step
  3. Step 3

    Simmer

    • Deglaze the pot with the red wine, balsamic vinegar, and the port, scraping up any brown bits.
    • Add the bouquet garni, beef stock, water, and ground black peppercorns, and bring up to a boil.
    • Lower heat and simmer uncovered for one hour, then remove the bouquet garni.
    Next step
  4. Step 4

    Toast

    • While the soup is simmering, preheat your oven’s broiler.
    • Slice the crusty bread into rounds, about ¼-½-inch thick, and place onto a baking sheet.
    • Toast the croutons until golden brown on both sides.
    Next step
  5. Step 5

    Melt

    • Ladle the hot soup into oven-safe bowls.
    • Place a couple of toasted croutons on top of the soup, and layer a generous amount of cheese slices on top.
    • Place the bowls onto a baking sheet, then under the broiler until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden brown.
    • Carefully remove the hot bowls from the oven, and serve hot.