Plated + Served: French Onion Soup Gratinéed


There is something uniquely satisfying and comforting about Onion Soup Gratinéed– all crusty and cheesy and bubbling hot.

Maybe what makes it so special is that very few of us prepare it from scratch, so when we see it on a menu, we order it, hoping it will be as good as we anticipate.

French Onion Soup Gratinéed

Sometimes it is. But sometimes even the toasted French bread loaded with melted cheese isn’t enough to save a thin, watery broth with too few onions.

There are two secrets to making this delicious soup. Number One: Make sure the onions are nice and caramelized to bring out their deep, rich flavor. Number Two: Use a really terrific beef stock or broth.

There’s no way to cheat on caramelizing the onions… that will take time and patience on your part. As for the beef stock or broth, I like to use the jus (the liquid that is leftover after cooking) from a pot roast that I’ve braised on the stove or cooked in the crock pot earlier in the week (or month and then frozen for just this purpose).

I pour the jus into a container, let it cool, remove the white fat on top and then strain it. I usually get a couple of cups of beautifully delicious, full bodied broth from one roast. I supplement this with broth I buy from the store or my butcher.

Making this soup takes time and a little planning, but it is so worth it… especially when you serve it for dinner on a cold, wintry evening (and we’ve got a lot of those coming up, don’t we?).

Onion Soup Gratinéed
prep: 30 minutes
cook: About 3 hours (it is worth it!)

you’ll need…
¼ cup butter
10 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 lbs.)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup dry white vermouth (optional, but really sort of necessary for a deeper flavor)
3 tablespoons flour
3 quarts beef broth or stock (supplemented with the degreased and strained jus from a pot roast)
French Bread
Gruyère Cheese

let’s get to it…
Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan; stir in the onions. Cover and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add the sugar and stir often so that the onions brown evenly and don’t stick to the pan, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Stir in the vermouth, making sure you scrape off any caramelized onion from the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir.  Add the beef stock or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer (low to medium low) and let cook slowly about 2 hours, stirring periodically.
Slice the French bread into ¾-inch thick pieces and toast evenly. Top one side with grated Gruyère cheese and broil until melted, brown and bubbly.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with one cheesy French bread slices. Serve immediately.


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: