French onion can be a satisfying soup to make

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Ome of the first soups that I ever learned how to make was French onion.

Although it contains few ingredients, French onion is one of the most complex and satisfying soups out there. 

The combination of a rich onion soup paired with crunchy bread and melted, gooey cheese creates a dish that is better than the sum of its parts. 

The ratio of soup to cheese to bread is a very important concept in a good French onion. 

The earthenware crocks that French onion soup is commonly served in helps keep this ratio in check.

Hopefully you can make this soup on a cold day this winter and see how it can warm up even the coldest days.

French Onion Soup

10 yellow onions, thinly sliced

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 cup red wine

1 cup dry sherry

1 gallon low sodium beef stock

1 baguette, sliced in ½ in rounds and toasted

1 cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Start off by melting the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, a pinch of salt, and the sugar.  Saute for at least 45 minutes so that the onions can achieve a deep brown color.  If the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan just add ½ cup of water to them which will deglaze the pan and assist in the browning. 

Once the onions are deeply browned add the red wine and sherry. Reduce until the alcohol has been cooked out then add the beef broth. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 90 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  The finished soup can then be ladled into ovenproof crocks and topped with the croutons and cheese, then baked off in a 400 degree oven until the cheese in browned.


Jeffery Dailey is a chef at Corbett’s in Louisville. Formerly of Carrollton, he now lives in Louisville. His column will appear every other week on the Community Page.