How to: Soupe Gratinée à l’Oignon (French Onion Soup)

“The story goes that late one night, faced with a very hungry King Louis XIV, the palace chef improvised with what was on hand and created an onion soup. Its ingredients were onions cooked in butter, with Champagne added to make the broth.”

No matter what diet I am on – there is a time when I  just crave comfort food. For me it is anything with bread and warm cheese. Being married to a Frenchi I know how good French food is by now. The other day I was at Anthropologie in Westport Connecticut and I found this book: “French Comfort Food by Hillary Davis. Of course I had to purchase it (next to some other things ahem…).

My husband makes the best French Onion Soup hands down and believe me, we tried them all on a “French Onion Soup Tour” we invented. We traveled through the U.S. and tasted and tested Onion soups in Restaurants. Weird? Maybe, but we loved it. So today I made MY first Onion soup and it has been approved by my French husband. Yes! 🙂

So here is the recipe according to the book:

What you need for 4 portions:

A large soup pot and 4 soup bowl.

4 large onions

3 tablespoons (45g) butter

2 tablespoons (30ml) cognac, plus 2 teaspoons (yes, plus some for you while cooking)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

4 tablespoons (60ml) extra vigin olive oil

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tablespoon flour

4 cups (1liter) chicken stock

salt and pepper as desired

12 slices baguette

1 cup (100g) grated Gruyère (I put some more cheese of course – gotta be as cheesy as possible!)


Peel the onions and then slice in half. Slice in thick 1/2 inch (1.5cm) pieces. In a small bowl using a fork, mix 1 tablespoon of the butter with 2 tablespoons cognac, mustard and thyme leaves. Preheat the oven to broil.


Melt remaining butter into the olive oil in the pot. Add the onions. Cook very slowly on medium-low heat until they have a deep brown color, about 17 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the sugar, and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the flour, and stir well to cover the onions. Pour in the stock, stir, place back on the heat, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Whisk tin the butter and cognac mixture and bring back to a low simmer. Now prep your soup bowls. At the bottom of the bowl place a slice of baguette – put 1/2 teaspoon of cognac on in. Now pour some of the soup on top. Now I put 2 more slices and top of the soup and add cheese to finish your bowl. Now put all your soup bowl in the preheated oven and broil for approximately 5 minutes on high.

I cut up some parsley to decorate the soup once I took it out of the oven.

Bon Appétit!

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