French Onion Soup

D: More soup! Steph wanted to do French Onion Soup this week (S: More that we were bouncing ideas off each other, and we agreed on this one), and I was onboard with that, as I haven’t had onion soup in ages and I do enjoy it. So we’re giving Michael Smith’s recipe a go.


  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2TBsp of vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • a splash of water
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2C brandy, sherry, cognac or fortified wine [we used Medeira]
  • 4C chicken broth
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 slices of hearty bread
  • 2C shredded Swiss, Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese


  • Put butter and oil in a stock pot on medium-high heat.
  • After melted, add the onions, a splash of water, and some salt & pepper
  • Stir well, cover with a lid
  • Cook, stirring frequently until the onions soften and release moisture, about 10 minutes
  • Remove the lid and continue cooking, stirring frequently to prevent sticking for an hour until the onions are deep golden
  • When the onions have become a deep golden colour, add the liquor, turn up the heat, and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the liquid has evaporated
  • Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer, add thyme and season with salt & pepper, continue cooking for another 15 minutes
  • To serve, peheat the broiler in your oven, toast bread, cut rounds out of the bread to fit the bowls if too large
  • Ladle the soup into the bowls [ovenproof bowls], top with the bread, and cover in shredded cheese
  • Broil until the cheese has melted and browned


D: delicious, best I’ve had I think. You’ll note that I torched the cheese, that’s because I don’t trust our bowls. Be careful about using oven-safe bowls, lest you fill your oven full of soup and shards of glass. I felt the torch was the safe way to go on that, since we do have that luxury. I might recommend that if you do have a kitchen torch and also don’t trust your bowls. It was lots of work, but it turned out very well; I’d recommend it.

S: This was delicious! I’ve never actually had Emmenthal cheese before, so this was a new experience. Best way to describe it, a more pungent Swiss cheese. I think I’d be ok with adding a bit more salt. I had already added more than a sprinkle, both times (during onion caramelization and soup making part)… but overall, I loved it. Torching the cheese was a nice touch at the end as well.