French Onion Soup Gratinée

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in Food Journal, Soups

French Onion Soup Gratinée

French Onion Soup – I had never had French Onion Soup until I went to culinary school. It was one of the dishes we learned how to make in Basics – the first class you take. This is because it is a great example of how to caramelize onions, and of the effects of caramelizing. In Basics, I had to make enough to feed two people.  About half way through school, we got to work in the restaurant that is located on campus. In the restaurant, each student works a different station everyday. The day I had the French Onions Soup station was a tearful day to say the least.  It wasn’t that I was sad or upset in any way, it was the onions I had to cut up at the beginning of the day. In my memory, it was like 100 pounds of onions, in reality, it was only 50 or so. Still a hefty amount.  After chopping them all up, I cooked them in a giant tilt skillet. You can google “tilt skillet” if you’d like to see what one looks like. They are kind of like, if you can picture, a stove but instead of burners, it has a big metal box on top with no lid that tilts forward to empty it. They’re big and they’re for cooking huge amounts at a time and they’re awesome :D! At the end of the day, after all the tears, and work in the kitchen. You get to see the result of your labor, someone enjoying the food you made. It’s an amazing feeling. I love this soup :)! I hope you love it too! Happy Cooking!


1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds onions, (I use 2 brown, 1 yellow, and 1 red) sliced with the grain
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sherry (something inexpensive please :D)
2 quarts of beef stock (if you use cans, they come in 14.5 oz cans, just use four and don’t worry about those few extra ounces, no big deal)
croutons (recipe follows)
Swiss or Gruyere Cheese (I use Tillamook Swiss in these pictures, I love the Gruyere too, I just don’t usually have it in the house-like when I decided to make this yesterday)
6 croutons (recipe follows)

Special Equipment

oven safe bowls, or crocks of some sort (available in my “foodie shop“)


1. Peel and slice onions with the grain about 1/4 inch thick – How do you keep your eyes from watering? The only solution I’ve found for this is to cut them under my vent fan with it on high. Also, only breath through your mouth.
2. Place the oil in a large wide bottom pot or saute pan and turn it on medium high heat.
3. Add the onions, salt, and pepper, stir to coat evenly.
4. Sweat your onions, you are looking for them to begin to get a translucent appearance (see my article on caramelizing onions).
5. Reduce the heat to medium low.
6. Let your onions cook. You will have to stir them about every ten minutes to start and more often as they cook down, make sure you scrape the bottom as you stir. If they start to stick, add a little water, scrape the bottom, and stir (check out my article “How to Caramelize an Onion“).
7. Once your onions have cooked down to a beautiful, dark golden brown, add the sherry.
8. Stir and  let it cook for 30 seconds or so.
9. Add your stock.
10. Bring it to a boil.
11. Place the soup into oven safe bowls.
12. Put a crouton on top of each one and cover it with cheese. You can use shredded or sliced or a combination, it is also OK to use provolone, Swiss, Gruyere, or even Parmesan if you want. I put my bowl on a sheet pan to make it easier to get them in and out of the oven.
13. Place your soups in the oven under the broiler until the cheese gets melty, brown and bubbly – Mmmmm YUMMY!
14. Remove the soups from the oven – BE CAREFUL!
15. Enjoy your beautiful French Onion Soup Gratinée!

Ingredients for Croutons

6 slices of whole wheat bread, or 6 slices of french bread
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher Salt


1. Pre-heat your oven to 300°F.
2. Cut the bread to fit the top of the bowls you will be using. I put the rim of the bowl on my bread and push down to cut it out or to make a little circle print to follow.
3. Brush the bread lightly with olive oil.
4. Sprinkle the bread with Kosher salt and pepper.
5. Place it in the oven on a sheet pan at 300°F until toasted, about 10 minutes or so.
6. Remove it from the oven and go to step 12 above.

Please enjoy this “how-to” chop an onion video!

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