The Literate Chef

French Onion Soup

In Recipes, Soups on October 10, 2013 at 9:03 AM

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

(Serves 2 or 3 – Active preparation time about 1 hour)

We found these great oven-proof soup bowls with handles at  Williams-Sonoma a while back, and they have been sitting fallow in our cabinet ever since. But yesterday, with the weather turning to full Autumn here on Cape Cod, the bowls cried out to be used. Since they resemble those soup bowls one would see in un petit bistrot somewhere on La Rive Gauche, what better soup to christen them with than a hearty Soupe à l’Oignon.

Betty whipped this up last night for a light supper, and with the lights turned down low, a candle on the dinner table, and Edith Piaf warbling in the background on the stereo, we enjoyed a 30 minute flight of fantasy to The City of Light.


1/4 lb. unsalted butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 slices French bread, about 1″ thick
4 large onions, sliced thin
4 sprigs of thyme
4 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup of sherry (Amontillado)
6 cups of College Inn, Fat-Free, Low-Sodium Beef Broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 lb. Gruyere, sliced thin – sufficient to cover the top of each soup bowl


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large heavy pot, on medium heat, sauté the garlic in 4 tbsp of the butter.
3. Brush bread slices on both sides with the garlic butter mixture.
4. On a cookie sheet, bake the garlic bread in the oven for 6 minutes on each side, remove and set aside. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
5. While the garlic bread is baking, add the remaining butter to the pot and melt, add onions and thyme sprigs, cook over medium heat until onions are well caramelized.
6. Remove the thyme sprigs, sift flour over the onions, mix well and cook over low heat for 8 minutes. Add sherry and continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes more.
7. Add beef broth, salt and paper, bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until thickened as desired.
8. Place toasted garlic bread in soup bowls, add onion soup to the brim.
9. Cover bowls with layered Gruyere slices and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.


  1. Does this mean they were sitting unused or had the land been ploughed but unseeded- just wondering?

  2. The soup looks outrageously gorgeous and scrumptious! Sounds you had a dreamy dinner. My mommy looooves onion soup. I’ll use your recipe to make her happy! 🙂

  3. Perfect looking soupe a l’oignon. I’m sure it tasted as good as it looks. I used to do a lot of photography for Williams – Sonoma’s “Taste” Magazine, before it was sadly discontinued.

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