French Onion Soup

When I was in high school, my friends and  I went to a restaurant that served French onion soup: We thought it was unbearably sophisticated and exotic, certainly something our mother neither could, nor would, make. Now I know that is it none of those things; it is uncomplicated, speedy, and almost effortless.

Broiling is likely to ruin fine china, so be sure to use oven safe crocks, with handles, if possible.

French Onion Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: About 10 cups
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • ¼ cup dry wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 baguette, cut on the bias into ¾-inch slices
  • Thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
  • Finely grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese, about ¾ cup
  1. Place a stockpot over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions, salt, and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very, very tender about, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  2. Add the stock, red wine, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, bring to a low boil, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste. Discard the herbs. Serve immediately or transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days .
  3. Preheat the broiler and adjust the rack about ⅔ of the way up.
  4. Set serving bowls on a baking sheet and fill each with about 1½ cups of soup. Top each bowl with slices of bread. Top the bred with Gruyere, then sprinkle with the Asiago cheese. Place under the broiler and broil until well browned and bubbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.