Saturday, September 6, 2014

Onion Soup au Gratin

French onion soup is known all over the world and is available in most restaurants serving a continental menu. It is one of the favorite soups in our house. I have a tried and tested recipe used for years.

I was first introduced to this soup as a child. I did not care for it then as I preferred soup with thick broth. When I was older I began to appreciate the subtle flavor profiles of broths in soups. When I made it for the first time at home my husband came over to look at what the lovely aroma was. He was none too impressed with the look of the brown mess in the pan. Brought up in an 'Indian food only' household he had never had a chance to try this soup. One sip changed all that.

Unlike most recipes I do not add dry white wine to the soup. Instead I use fresh vegetable stock to deglaze the pan. In the past I used to struggle with the bread to make this soup au gratin. Either the bread was to tough or it fell apart. This was the first time I topped the soup with homemade bread. It was perfectly moist but not soggy and mushy. From now on I will always top it with homemade pain de campagne. My husband prefers this soup without the bread and cheese topping. My daughter and I prefer au gratin. Either way it is loved.

You will need
2 large white onions
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups vegetable stock (I made it fresh for the soup)
1 cup dry white wine (I used additional stock)

For the topping (to make 4 bowls)
4 slices of French bread (I used Pain de Campagne)
4 thin slices Gruyere

You will need vegetable stock for the soup. I recommend making it fresh or at least use homemade stock. It makes such a huge difference to the flavor of the dish. I have provided a link to my recipe for  vegetable stock.

Cut the onion into thin slices and keep aside. In a thick bottomed pan heat butter until the butter melts. Add the onions, cream and salt. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until onions are translucent.

Increase heat and let the onions brown without stirring. When the edges and bottom start to brown add a ladle of stock and deglaze the pan.

Spread the partially browned onions on the bottom of the pan and let them brown some more. Repeat the deglazing and browning 3 more times until the onions are a darker caramel color. Add the remaining stock. Adjust seasoning and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the four slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 2-3 minutes on each side. Meanwhile ladle the soup into oven safe soup bowls almost to the top. Place the toasted bread on the top. Place the slice of cheese over the bread to cover it completely. This bowl is for my daughter and loves it with lots of cheese. You can cut the slices thinner. :)

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt. You can switch the oven to broil to brown the melting cheese. Ensure you do not overcook the cheese. It should melt but the solids should never separate from the liquid.

The soup au gratin tastes best when hot.


  1. Onion soup au gratin looks just perfect. I would not mind this soup on a cold winter night for dinner.

  2. Lovely soup.This was my first choice for France but I ended up with a totally different dish!!The soup pics looks very inviting...

  3. That is one amazing soup. I've this on my to-make list for a very long time. Will try your recipe.

  4. Very very interesting. .looks a little tricky though..the cheese looks sinful and the soup omg types;))

  5. I m loving this soup, looks very inviting! Love that cheese topping and I wouldn't mind lottss of cheese!!

  6. Wow this is amazingly delicious.i am bookmarking this soup.


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