Tuesday, November 9, 2010


For the approximate cook

I have it on authority, that is to say from a friend of a friend's sister whose lover is a French chef, that to make a good onion soup you should never use bouillon cubes and you should always carmelize the onions.

I take that to mean that you should make your own beef stock bouillon, but being the lazy cook that I am, I skip using bouillon altogether. The resulting soup is tasty and easy to make, although it would most likely never win a French Onion Soup Cook-Off  if ever there were to be one. I also skip adding flour as a thickening agent and never add herbs, and I usually drink the red wine rather than add it to the broth.

All you have to do is

  • Sautée until translucent a generous quantity of sliced yellow onions in butter and olive oil. 
  • Add one teaspoon each of sugar and salt and continue cooking until onions are browned. 
  • Add water to just cover the onions and let simmer over low heat about 30 minutes.
  • Season to taste. Pour hot soup into oven-proof bowls and top with toasted croûtons and grated gruyère or Swiss cheese (see how to prepare croûtons on earlier blog post, Breadboard Economy). 
  • Place under broiler til cheese is crusty and bubbly. 
  • Finish with a grinding of fresh black pepper.

N.B: This recipe is particularly interesting if you're serving a person afflicted with gout who wants to avoid  purines in the meat-based broths.

ExpressionsCe n'est pas tes oignons. (familiar):  It's none of your business.
                      Occupe-toi de tes oignons. (familiar):  Mind your own business.

For jazz listening fun: Les Oignons with Sidney Bechet

Text & photo © 2010  P.B.Lecron


  1. There’s really nothing I would recommend to change about this soup. Its taste is something I can't explain...

  2. Yummy ! Your recipe sounds perfect !!! I just have some additional flavor in my secret recipe ! The best is with the Onions of Cévennes, because they are very sweet. :D

  3. Miam-miam! Oignons de Cévennes!