Taste: Annotated Recipe: French Onion Soup

There are kitchens that can turn a simple onion into something transcendent with a little patience

Too often, French onion soup is dishwater-bland covered by a blanket of plasticky cheese. But there are kitchens that can, with a little patience, turn a simple onion into something transcendent. Le Bar Lyonnais has been working its magic with this recipe for almost 20 years.


Preheat oven to 250° Fahrenheit. Spread flour on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 6 minutes, until browned. On a separate baking sheet, arrange baguette rounds. Toast for 2 to 3 minutes, until dried. In a large saucepan over low heat, combine oil and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 hour, stirring onions every 2 to 3 minutes to prevent burning, until they are a shiny mahogany color.

Add browned flour to caramelized onions. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add white wine, and scrape pan to release the fond that has formed on the bottom. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil. Add chicken stock. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until soup has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls, cover the soup’s surface with toasted baguette rounds, and top with gruyère. Gratinée under a broiler about 1 minute, until soup is very hot and cheese has melted and blistered. Serves 4.