A drunken Bistro French Onion Soup with thyme, wine and a final touch of Brandy, then gratinated with a piece of toasted bread and exquisite Gruyere cheese until golden perfection.
There is nothing like a fuming hot onion soup! Bistro French Onion Soup contains all the best from France: Red wine, bread and cheese. This gratinated soup, which means it needs to finish up in the oven, will warm you up guaranteed on a cold winter night. This version is made with olive oil instead of butter, red instead of white wine and a touch of thyme, garlic and Brandy to give it a more fragrant touch.
This soup dates from the 15th century; although many variations exist here and there, the French gratinated one is the best known worldwide. It used to be a soup for the less fortunate; today, it’s for all! Some versions don’t contain cheese at all, but in my opinion, the top part is what makes it so exquisite!
The Cheese Choice
If you want to taste the essence of France, I would suggest a cheese like Comté or Gruyere to top the soup. These cheeses are what a perfect gratin tastes like, and it’s neither salty nor stingy. In third place, I would say an Emmental.
A Long Cooking Preparation
The Cooking of this soup needs time to soften the onions to perfection! Plus, you might be shocked by the amount of onions used, but do not worry, they’ll lose all their water and shrink drastically. Prepare some goggles not to cry too much, although they say if your knife is well-sharpened, you shouldn’t feel a tear while cutting the onions. Let’s see…
Tasty Broth for a Tasty Soup
In most “stock” meals, I believe the stock to be the critical factor to a successful soup or sauce, so make your own! I leave my beef stock recipe down here in case you want it. It goes a long way, but of course, it’s optional. I love to make my own condensed broth or stock and freeze some in silicone ice cube trays. This way, you can always enhance any meal with a touch of it! Like in pasta and rice, make a quick sauce for meat, etc. A cube or two with a touch of butter, and you are in business.
Can I use other types of onions to make it?
Yes! Although the original recipe would be yellow onions you can use white or red ones too.
Can I freeze my Bistro French Onion Soup?
Yes, although leave the toppings. It will last 3 months in your freezer.
Other Soup Ideas
Bistro French Onion Soup
- 1½ l Beef Stock (or Veal or Chicken Broth)
- 250 ml Red Wine (or White Wine)
- 5 Yellow Onions (Big Ones)
- 2 Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp flour (or unsweeten dark chocolate)
- 50 g butter
- 30 ml Brandy (optional)
- 2 tsp thyme (or two branches of fresh thyme)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- 4 slices of dry or toasted bread (thick)
- 150 g Gruyere or Comte Cheese (or Emmental)
- In a big pot, add the butter and thinly the sliced onions with some salt and cook at low heat for about 45 minutes (yes that long), until the onion become translucent totally soft.
- Midway through the onions cooking time (step 1), add finely chopped garlic.
- When the onions are ready, add the flour (if you choose that alternative), mix it up for one minute (can add a bit of oil or butter if too dry).
- Add the beef stock, wine, spices and let simmer another 30 minutes.
- Heat up at full strenght the Broil (Top grill) from your oven.
- When the soup is ready, add the brandy and chocolate (if you choose that alternative) to thicken the soup. Give it a good last stir.
- Transfer the soup into oven proof bowls, add the dry bread on top plus the cheese with black pepper.
- Grill until the cheese is melted which should be really fast.
- Let it cool a bit before serving.