Dad’s French Onion Soup

One of my really good friends actually requested this recipe. Around the holidays my dad always makes the BEST French Onion soup. For quite a few years in my 20’s I would bring friends over for a holiday meal and everyone always loved the French Onion soup the most. Of course I couldn’t post a recipe without trying it first. I would have to say our first attempt was a raving success! Cheesy, salty, and rich……heaven in a bowl! Another great thing about this dish is that you can do the main prep days in advance and then finish it up 10-20 minutes before you are ready to serve it! We had a bowl tonight for dinner and then saved the rest for New Years Eve!

We went over to my parents house this afternoon to get the recipe and some tips. Dad said that he has tried out several recipes over the years and has taken a little knowledge from each. So we took home with us pictures of 4 different recipes, a 1/4 Cup of Brandy, 6 English muffins of assorted flavors and a few laughs.

So here is the culmination of our learning and a few improvisations.

Serves 4


  • 4 medium Yellow onions, cut longways and sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch slices
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar (to assist in browning onions)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 quart chicken/beef broth mix (4 beef bouillon cubes and 3 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 4 Cups water)
  • 1 Can Beef Consumme (10.5 oz)
  • 1/4 Cup Brandy
  •  1/2 Cup Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups Swiss or Gruyere Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • French Bread, thickly sliced and toasted

Noted substitutions: In some recipes you can use a white wine in place of vermouth and gruyere cheese in place of the swiss. Also, if you really want to kick up the flavor use homemade beef stock in place of the chicken/beef broth.

Browning the onions: Melt the butter on moderate heat  in a 6 quart pot and add the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent. The onions should have reduced by about half the size at this point.  Add the sugar and salt and turn the heat up to moderately high. Cook for an additional 25 minutes until the onions are a medium golden brown. Stirring frequently and scraping off the cooked brown bit at the bottom of the pot and stirring them in with the onions.

Simmering the soup: Add the dried mustard, flour, and garlic and stir for 3 minutes. Next add 2 cups of the broth and stir vigorously. Bring to a simmer. Add the rest of the broth, consumme, brandy, vermouth, nutmeg and pepper. Stir together, loosely cover and simmer for 1- 2.5 hours. The longer you go the more flavor you will develop.  Add a little water if your broth reduces too much. Remove from heat.

Prepare ahead: If you are prepping then go ahead and cool the soup, and cover and leave in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Eat it now!: Bring your oven to Broil High. Ladle your soup into single serve ramekins, top with the toast and a giant mound of Swiss cheese and then sprinkle with Parmesan. Place on a baking sheet and broil for 5-8 minutes until your cheese is browned.

I would love to hear about your favorite holiday meal….feel free to comment below!



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