Cooking with Ceci: French favorite: Onion soup

Onion soup should be served with bubbly, broiled cheese on top. (Photo by Ceci Martinez)

Onion soup should be served with bubbly, broiled cheese on top. (Photo by Ceci Martinez)

Travel to France in your own kitchen with this classic from the French cuisine. Onion soup dates back to Greek and Roman times. In the 18th century the bland version of this soup got a boost in France with the addition of croutons and cheese. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop selling an onion soup called “restaurant” which is French for “restoring” advertising the restorative qualities of boiled food. Hence the origin of the word “restaurant.” According to legend, King Louis XV invented French onion soup when one day all that was left in the pantry were onions, butter and champagne. Serve in style in a ramekin with melted bubbly broiled cheese and you will feel having attained high marks in haute French cuisine!

Serves: 5 to 6


1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

5 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1tablespoon flour

2 quarts beef bouillon (for a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock)

1 cup full body wine (burgundy or merlot)

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon sage

Salt and pepper to taste

French bread

1 tablespoon cognac


Swiss and gruyere cheese, 2 ounce piece each, grated


In a large pot heated to medium/high, add oil, butter (1 tablespoon) and onions; cook stirring occasionally until onions look translucent, about 20min. Add sugar, salt and continue to cook stirring frequently until onions caramelize, about 10min. While onions cook, in a separate pot boil stock, add sage and bay leaf. Add flour and 1 tablespoon of butter to caramelized onion, mix. Add hot stock and heat at low-medium for 30min. Transfer onion soup to a broiling cup (ramekin), add croutons, cognac, overlay grated cheese, broil for 5-10 minutes. Serve with warm French bread. Enjoy with a glass of burgundy or merlot. Bon appétit!


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