French Onion Soup

  • Active Time 45m
  • Total Time 1h 45m
  • Rating ****

Serves 6

This soup from Woodside Restaurant, in Brentwood, California has everything traditional Parisian onion soups have; a rich broth, lots of onion flavor, a delicious crouton and just the right amount of cheese. The chef adds a splash of balsamic vinegar for an extra edge. --Michael Breitner


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large white onions (about 2 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Madeira
  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 4 cups beef stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 6 thick slices stale sourdough bread
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 6 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 scallions, chopped


Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the Madeira, reduce the heat to moderate and cook until evaporated. Continue adding a total of 1/2 cup of the Madeira, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring often and cooking until evaporated before adding more, about 15 minutes. Continue cooking the onions, stirring, until deep brown, about 10 minutes more.

Add the chicken and beef stocks to the saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the soup is flavorful and the onions are tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the balsamic vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons of Madeira.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange 6 ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet. Divide the soup among the bowls, top each with a bread slice and cover the bread with the cheese. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Garnish the soup with the scallions and serve.

MAKE AHEAD: The onion soup, prior to topping with bread, can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days. To serve, reheat the soup, add bread and cheese then broil and garnish.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.

RecID 1965

nutrition information per serving

402 calories; 19g total fat; 54mg cholesterol; 382mg sodium; 34g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 18g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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