Classic French Onion Soup

Time: 1 hour – 2 hours

Music Selection: Don McLean – Vincent

When we visited France, we spent a bit of time in Provence, and specifically went to Arles, where we learned about Vincent Van Gogh. He certainly was a character and his paintings are so colorful and bold. Speaking of bold, this onion soup also has character with fresh herbs, marsala and, of course, gruyere cheese… Don’t forget to take the time to rub garlic on the toasted baguettes… it does make a difference!


½ cup butter

5 medium onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

5 sprigs fresh thyme

6 oz gruyere cheese, grated – about 1.5 cups

¼ cup red wine, marsala is a good choice or sherry

6 cups beef broth

1 baguette, sliced into ½ inch rounds


In large stockpot, melt butter. Add onions and 2 of the garlic cloves, minced. Cook until the onions are caramelized – about 20 – 25 minutes on low heat. The less you stir the onions, the faster they caramelize. Add in the wine and let it reduce. Then add in the broth. Using cheesecloth, make a small bouquet garni with the bay leaves and thyme. Tie it up and add to the soup. Let this cook for about 30 minutes to reduce (you can cook this longer if you have time).

In the meantime, toast the baguette slice in the oven or in a toaster. Take the remaining garlic, cut it in half and rub the garlic on the toasted baguette.

Ladle the soup into 5 or 6 bowls that can go under a broiler. Cover the soup with slices of toasted garlicky baguette. Then top with the grated gruyere cheese.

Place under broiler for a few minutes (usually less than 5), until cheese browns. Watch it carefully so it does not burn after all this “simple” but super work!

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