French onion soup

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

French onion soup

When winter rolls around, a hearty French onion soup seemed like a good idea.

I got it really right the second time after combining ideas gleaned from reading about 10 different recipes.

My first attempt resulted in an anemic tan soup with chunks in it. You will like version two.

The most time-consuming part is caramelizing the onions, a crucial step. Use the deepest, largest diameter pan you have in the house. I used a large paella pan, which gives the most surface area to cook this huge mound of onions.

Servings: 4


  • 2 pounds onions, cut in half lengthwise, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional sliced baguette, Dijon and gruyere or some other cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté the onions, garlic, and thyme, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the onions start turning brown.
  3. Add the sugar and cook for about another 10 minutes until the onions are nicely caramelized. This is important as it gives the soup its flavor.
  4. Add the flour and the Dijon mustard. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the wine and cook until it is almost all evaporated. Add the broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30  minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
  6. Preheat the broiler. Toast some whole grain baguette slices. Spread them with Dijon mustard and top with some grated Gruyere or cheese of choice.
  7. In heat-proof serving bowls, ladle a serving of soup, top with the toasts, and broil until the cheese is melted.