No French Onion Soup for You! Just kidding. Here’go.


December 8, 2012 by athenahm

I love French onion soup.  I really, really love it. When I was a kid, my mom and I would go

out to eat,  and the place we always went did it soooooo well.  Those were some of the best times of my childhood.  Unfortunately, the place stopped serving awesome food and

soupe a l’oignon gratinee  - French for mouthgasm. True story.

soupe a l’oignon gratinee – French for mouthgasm. True story.

turned into a cookie cutter chain with over-priced sub-par fare, and I was left in the dark for years. Sadface. 


Once I grew up, I began looking up recipes for it, because my life seemed empty, now. It’s the little things, you know?  So, I must have have gone through 50 different recipes before I  developed a keen enough sense of what I liked and what was close enough to traditional French onion soup to appease my sense of food traditionalism(Is that a word? Meh, it is, now).  So, this is my take on a timeless classic, directly out of my own personal memory lane.

Athena’s French Onion Soup

Preheat to 350 degrees. This makes quite a bit, about 9-10 servings.

To me, the best part of the soup is the bread and cheese.  For this reason, I used an excessive amount of both.  You are more than welcome to add or subtract from those quantities, or really any of the quantities in this recipe.  That is the wonderful thing about soup, you can make it however you want it, and you almost can’t mess it up.  Keep in mind, though: This recipe is the direct result of years of tinkering.  I’m an expert.  You should listen to me.

2 lbs stew meat(optional, but add another box of broth if you do not use the meat)

2-3 large onions, cut into 3/4 inch(ish) strips

1/4 c butter (plus 1/8 c melted butter for brushing the bread with)

1/2 c dry red wine(your choice, it’s for cooking, so you don’t have to go fancy, here)

2 boxes or 3 cans of beef broth

1 cup water

2 loaves of French or Italian bread, cubed

1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1 lb. sliced or shredded gruyere, or similar cheese (I use a German swiss cheese, but I swear, it’s just like gruyere)

salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Begin by sauteing the onions in the 1/4 cup  butter in a large pot, I used my handy-dandy stock pot. Once the onions are almost transparent, add the stew meat and brown.

I cook with my wooden spoon because it is a helpful prop in pretending that I am the Swedish Chef.

I cook with my wooden spoon because it is a helpful prop in pretending that I am the Swedish Chef.

Once your onions are completely transparent, we add a few very important components.  In my own, personal worldview, you cannot call it French food if it does not have butter, alcohol, or very high quality cheese.  This dish is a perfect interpretation of my favorite things about France.  Pour in your wine, and let it reduce for about 10 minutes.

I say 1/2 cup, but you know what? Use your best judgement.  If, by chance, your judgement is clouded by good French wine, you might judge that you need quite a bit more than half a cup.....

I say 1/2 cup, but you know what? Use your best judgement. If, by chance, your judgement is clouded by good French wine, you might judge that you need quite a bit more than half a cup…..

Now, add your garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Do what you feel, here.  Just remember that the broth and cheese has enough sodium to make you blow up like a balloon, so pour at your own risk.  Speaking of broth, you can go ahead and add that, now, and the water. Cover that shit, and let it simmer on medium-low while you work with your bread.

Cut the bread into 1 or 1.5 inch cubes.

Cut the bread into 1 or 1.5 inch cubes.

Nothing makes a meal like melted fat.

I use my baking stones for just about everything I possibly can, and toasting the bread is no exception. Chop it up and spread it evenly over your baking vessel of choice. I had to use both of my stones, because I was feeding a small, voracious army.

To quote the lovely and hilarious Hannah Hart, “Butter Yo Shit”.  Brush each piece of bread with a ‘lil bit of that melted butter. Then stick it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, just until it is nice and golden brown-like.  The reason we do this is because the bread is supposed to be saturated when you are enjoying your soup, not soggy.  No one likes soggy bread.

Now, you can do one of two things.  As I said, I was cooking for a shipload of people, some being very small, hungry children.  Because of this, I did not go all fancy and broil the cheese in individual, oven-safe bowls.  Instead, I transferred my soup into a very large baking pan.

I enjoyed tossing the bread in, piece by piece, while making sound effects but I am easily entertained.

Cover your soup with the toast.  Sprinkle the mozzarella over it, then cover with your gruyere/swiss/WTFever.


Spread the bread, man. Spread the bread. (And the cheese, too)


Cover completely with you fancy cheese.


Broil for about 5-8 minutes, depending on your oven. You want the cheese to be bubbly and crispy in places.


I enjoyed my french onion soup with a white wine, but I am only judgmental when it comes to my own food. Do what you will. If moscato is your thing, have fun.

Next time, we will have some fun with baking and tequila, so stay tuned, kids! Mwah! Mwah!  You’re my favorite for sticking with me this far.


2 thoughts on “No French Onion Soup for You! Just kidding. Here’go.

  1. jumbonews says:

    Can hardly wait for the day you come to my house. I’ve been refining a recipe for French onion for many, many years.

    Peter W7PHM

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