The Onion Soup ~ Julia Child's


Julia Child's Onion Soup, Gratineed
Soupe à l'oignon Gratineed

She is sometimes referred to as the woman who launched a million whisks.

Julia Child's are recipes that I come back to time after time. Her version of Onion soup is one of those.

When asked what she would choose for her last meal?
Usually the response was something like this ~
To begin ~ Foie gras, oysters, a little caviar, then pan-roasted duck, fine wines, Roquefort and Brie; a splendid dessert with Château d'Yquem.

But proportedly her last meal, before she died in her sleep in 2004 just two days short of her 93rd year, was actually onion soup.

(6-8 servings)
From "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", Volume One

3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
5 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar (to help carmelize the onions)
3 Tablespoons flour
8 cups beef stock, at a boil*
1/2 cup dry white wine (like extra dry vermouth)*
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons cognac*

Garnish: 6-8 croutes of hard toasted French bread rounds; 1-2 cups grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter and oil over low heat in a heavy soup pot. Stir in the onions, cover, and sweat until they are tender; this will take about 15 to 25 minutes.

Remove the cover, increase heat to medium, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook 30-40 minutes, stirring often, until the onions have turned an even, very deep, golden brown. Sprinkle in the flour; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes.

Off the heat, whisk in the boiling stock. Add the wine. Season to taste. Place the pot back on the heat, bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, partially covered, for 40-60 minutes or more, skim foam from surface as it appears.

Taste and correct seasonings. At this point you may set it aside, uncovered, until you are ready to serve.

When ready to serve, with the soup at a simmer, stir in the cognac. Place the toast pieces in the bottoms of each bowl, pour the soup over it, and pass the cheese separately for your guests to help themselves.

To gratinée: Place a piece of toasted (sturdy) bread on hot soup (in individual oven proof bowls), sprinkle generously with grated Gruyère and place under broiler until melted and bubbly.

* Over the years Julia demonstrated variations of this recipe; substituting canned beef broth for home made Beef Stock , or incorporating soup base, and swapping out vermouth for other white or red wine, and omitting the cognac.
The recipe as listed is for her Classic Onion Soup, but when I don't have homemade beef stock, I do use canned beef broth with some good quality beef soup base.

Sometimes I make a lighter version using chicken stock, omitting the beef altogether; it's not the classic version but it's still very good.



  1. I use her recipe but sometimes do a little different version by using chicken stock and the wine. Very very good. I love Julia and have lots of her books.

  2. Looks delicious, Mari! You're making all my favorites this week :)

  3. my favorites too! i adore onion soup, spouse nixes it everytime... its my favorite room service request when we travel. love your topiary too~ another wonderful mary post, gracias for keeping us all fed and happy!

  4. I so love onion soup. Its been a little too long since I've had some! Looks gorgeous!

  5. Oh how lovely and this is indeed my favorite recipe of all for onion soup....
    Now I am craving this!
    Thanks for the warm and lovely taste memory!
    L :*

  6. the onion soup looks delicious but I am in love with your dishes...and is that an eiffel tower wine decanter?

    The lighting on the topiary shot is so warm and inviting.

  7. Onion soup is so delicious! I think I will try it with the chicken stock. I love the toppings of onion soup! Your pictures are beautiful!

  8. I haven't had onion soup in years!! Yours looks wonderful!

  9. I've been a such a 'soup' mode lately. I guess that comes along with the onslaught of cold weather here in the Midwest! A wonderful reminder to make Julia's Onion Soup soon.

  10. My post gone:(

    I even admired your Eiffel Tower:)


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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