French Onion Soup

Serves 8, or 6 if main course.


  • 5 sweet onions (Vidalias), cut in half and sliced
  • 5 red onions, cut in half and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 10 ounces canned beef consommé
  • 10 ounces low salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Melt butter in a Dutch oven, and add onions and salt. Let onions sweat down a little, then stir. Cook for 25 minutes, or until onions are a rich caramel color, stirring occasionally. When the onions are cooked down, add the wine, and turn heat to high. Reduce the wine to a syrupy consistency. Add consommé, chicken broth, apple cider, and bay leaves. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Slice French bread into half-inch-thick slices, and trim edges to neatly fit soup bowls, and toast them at 350º in the oven for about 15 minutes, until they are dry crusts. Place oven rack in top third of oven, and heat broiler.

Remove bay leaves from soup. Season with salt, pepper, and brandy (if desired). Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls, filling each to about an inch from the top. Place a toast slice in each bowl, and top with grated cheeses. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, one to two minutes. Serves 8, or 6 if main course.

This article and recipes by Erica Derr first appeared in the January 2006 issue of Our State.

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