French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a classic culinary masterpiece, celebrated for its deep, rich flavor and simple, rustic elegance. The soul of this dish lies in its onions, traditionally yellow or sweet varieties, which are thinly sliced and then caramelized to perfection. This slow cooking process, often lasting upwards of an hour, is crucial as it brings out the natural sweetness of the onions, while imbuing them with a deep golden-brown color. The transformation of the onions during this stage is both an art and a science, requiring patience and attention to detail.

Once caramelized, the onions are typically deglazed with a splash of a good quality wine, often a dry white or a rich red, depending on the recipe. This not only lifts the fond (the browned bits) off the bottom of the pan, adding complexity to the flavor, but also introduces an element of acidity and depth to the dish. A splash of brandy or cognac is sometimes added for an extra layer of flavor.

The broth, traditionally a beef or chicken stock, is then added. The quality of the stock is paramount, as it forms the backbone of the soup’s flavor. Some chefs prefer to use a homemade stock for its richness and depth of flavor. The onions simmer in this broth, melding flavors over a low and gentle heat, allowing the essence of the onions to infuse the liquid.

Herbs such as thyme and bay leaf are common additions, contributing their aromatic qualities to the soup. Salt and pepper are used for seasoning, but the dish’s flavor largely relies on the caramelized onions and quality stock.

The soup is then ladled into oven-safe bowls, over which slices of crusty French bread or a baguette are placed. The bread acts as a raft, supporting a generous topping of cheese – typically Gruyère, though other types like Emmental or Swiss are also used. The cheese is then melted under a broiler, creating a bubbly, golden-brown crust that is both visually appealing and delicious.

Eating French Onion Soup is an experience in itself. The first spoonful breaks through the melted cheese, revealing the steamy, aromatic broth beneath. The bread, having absorbed some of the soup, provides a satisfying texture contrast to the silky onions and the rich, gooey cheese.

Often associated with Parisian bistros and cozy winter meals, French Onion Soup embodies the essence of comfort food. Its flavors are complex and deep, yet its ingredients are simple and humble. It’s a dish that warms the soul, perfect for a quiet evening in or as a starter to an elegant dinner.


  • 2 cups thinly sliced Yellow Sweet Onions
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 can (15-ounce) Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 1/4 cup compressed Velveeta Cheese (either cubed or shredded)
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups Thick White Sauce (recipe below)
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese for garnish

White Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk

How To Make French Onion Soup

In a 1 quart sauce pan melt butter and add flour, cook on medium heat until the flour turns thick and comes away from the sides of the sauce pan. Pour milk in flour a little at a time and stir constantly, add salt. Mixture should thicken and become like thick pudding. Remember to stir constantly taking care not to let mixture lump, set aside off from heat until ready to use for the soup.

In 2-quart sauce pan place 3 tablespoons butter and sliced onions.
Cook at low to medium heat stirring frequently until soft and clear but not brown.

Add chicken broth from can, chicken bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, and stir until completely heated through. Add white sauce and Velveeta cheese.

White sauce will be thick because it has been removed from the heat. Simmer on medium low heat until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended, stirring constantly.

Turn temperature to warm and let cook for additional 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve with a garnish of shredded cheddar cheese, and a couple of slices of warm dark Russian Bread.

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