French Onion Soup with Cantal Crostini

2009 Jan/Feb

The key to the best French onion soup is caramelizing the onions to bring out their flavour. It’s important to thoroughly brown and caramelize them before adding the liquids, which stops the caramelizing action.


  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 8 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. sherry
  • 1 T. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 c. beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 24 baguette slices
  • 2 c. grated cantal or gruyère cheese


Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot. Add the onions and cook for 10 to 15 minutes on high heat, stirring often. You want the onions to brown but not burn. Once the onions have started to brown, turn the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often for another 10 minutes until the onions are thoroughly browned and luscious.

Add the sherry and scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom. Add the thyme, bay leaves and stock. Bring to a boil and allow the soup to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

While the soup is cooking, place the baguette slices on a baking sheet, top them with the cheese and broil them until the cheese is melted and sizzling hot.

To Serve
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the cheesy baguette slices. Serves 6 to 8.

Pair this dish with: Domaine de Bacarra Beaujolais-Villages 2006 (France) or La Vielle Ferme Côtes du Ventoux 2006 (France). Bistro wine for a bistro dish, this red from the southern Rhône Valley marries grenache spiciness with juicy syrah fruit. Santé!