French Onion Soup is not an everyday dish in the farmhouse kitchen. But it’s certainly a treat! As the grey gloomy winter season carries on, it’s the perfect time of year for soup—we could probably have it every night of the week and never tire of it. Soup is also a favorite meal option because recipes run the spectrum of flavor and nutrition: from extremely wholesome rustic favorites to more decadent options, like this French Onion Soup we made.

Most would say a good onion soup is all about the crunchy bread and gooey cheese. But, it’s really all about the onions (shocking, right?). Inspired by a recipe from Matty Matheson’s A Cookbook, we’re using six different onion varieties! And that’s because each onion has a unique flavor profile. For that characteristic French onion soup richness, it’s so important for the onions to be cooked to a deep, deep, dark, dark, mahogany brown. That’s where your flavor is. And also the healthy amount of fortified wines! The easy part is grilling up some good sourdough and melting that cheese (lots of cheese!). Since we opted to use vegetable stock, we added porcini mushrooms for additional umami notes and depth.

Print Recipe
French Onion Soup
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, and ½ cup canola oil. Add the red, Vidalia, and yellow onions; season heavily with salt. This will take some time to cook down. Leave the onions alone for a few minutes so they start steaming and cooking. Stir occasionally as the onions start to cook down, about 15 minutes.
  2. Once the onions are translucent, turn down the heat to low. Continue to stir every few minutes until the onions start to caramelize. Add the shallots and musrooms. Cook on the lowest heat for as long as you can without burning the onions.
  3. Once the onions are dark brown and caramelized, after almost 2 hours, they’re ready for the wine. Add the Madeira, port, and sherry, then stand back because the mixture may ignite. If it doesn’t, use one of those long matches and flambé the wine.
  4. Add the cipollini and red pearl onions. Reduce the wine by half, then add the stock, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook for 1 hour and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. The crostini: Preheat the broiler. Slice bread. Using a ring mold or something round, cut out six circles that are the same size as the bowls you’re going to serve the soup in. In a medium pan set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; fry the bread circles until golden brown like a grilled cheese. Season with salt and pepper and put aside.
  6. Remove the bay leaves from the soup. Ladle into oven-safe bowls, place the crostini on top, and add a big pile of cheese. Place the soup on a baking sheet and broil on the middle rack so the cheese melts and turns golden brown and bubbly but doesn’t burn. Remove the soup and enjoy!