French 7-Onion Soup

Who doesn't love French Onion Soup? Sweet caramelized onions swimming in hearty beef broth topped with bread and gooey melted cheese that is browned on top? As Anne Burrell says, "Brown food is gooooood!" The cheese alone makes us crave it! And so we bring you our version, which involved not one, not two...but seven different types of onions because that's how we do things around here. And we caramelized them for not one, not two, but three hours. Yes, you read that right. To coax as much delicious sweetness out of those onions, we kept them covered and cooking over low heat for three whole hours, stirring often, but otherwise patiently waiting as the house filled with a mouth-watering oniony scent. This is the perfect process for a snowy Sunday afternoon, btw. The major debate during preparation was what type of wine to use? White, red, and sherry all were put on the table. We ended up choosing red because we love red with beef, and we were using beef broth. But we encourage experimentation...always!

Note: Our onion variety included one large each of the following: red, yellow, white, and sweet, plus four shallots, 8 pearl and 8 cippollini.

Start with 8 cups of sliced onions

Cooked for one hour

Cooked for two hours

Cooked for three hours

Just the soup

Topped with garlicky croutons

Topped with plenty of cheese, please!


2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds onions, thinly sliced to about 8 cups' worth
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 1/2-inch-thick pieces of baguette
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and butter together until the butter is melted. Add the sliced onions and stir until all onions are coated. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Cook for three hours, stirring every fifteen minutes or so, until the onions are golden brown. Sprinkle the onions with the flour, stir until coated, and cook another five minutes. Slowly pour in the red wine and cook, stirring, until about half the wine is evaporated. Add the broth, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes. When ready to serve, mix the cheeses together in a bowl. Rub the baguette slices with garlic, toast them, then cut them into crouton-size bites. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls and top with the croutons. Heat broiler on high. Top the entire bowl generously with the cheese mixture and place on a baking sheet under the broiler for 4-5 minutes to melt and brown the cheese. Enjoy carefully! Bowls will be hot!  


Unknown said...

French Onion is my favorite and I have been trying to perfect my recipe for years! What a genius idea to use all those different onions AND caramelize for 3 hours.

Lynn said...

I've caramelized the onions slowly in the over, but never on the stove top. I have to try that. Your post made me realize I haven't made French onion soup this winter. That's going on my list!

jck said...

I'm looking forward to having mine today. Perfect snow day lunch! Thanks again, so much, for sharing.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right- who doesn't love a good onion soup? I'm definitely going to have to give it a go with the multiple varieties of onions next time! I imagine that (and the long cook time) really deepens the flavor! I think I'm going to have to use sherry sometime too- what a great idea! Congratulations on a great recipe!!

Suchitra Vaidyaram said...

looks gorgeous! love the soup

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing! My mom and I were about halfway through caramelizing the onions for our first (and only) French Onion Soup a few years ago when we lost power. We finished the soup on the woodstove because we ended up being without power for three days. We'd love to try it again...maybe we will with the seven different onions.

Lomo said...

fabulous looking soup! Love french onion soup.....you are so right about this being perfect for a snowy afternoon!!


Really nice soup!
I will have to try it.

Apron Appeal said...

agreed! The cheese alone makes me want this. I need to uncover my dutch oven for this.