Bistro onion soup

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25 min


12 cups (3 L), for 12 servings

* PLUS Cooking time: 60 minutes, Broiling Time: 1 minutes
Bistro onion soup

© Royalty-Free/Masterfile


  • 1 baguette
  • 10 medium onions , either cooking or red or a mixture of both, about 2 kg
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 large garlic cloves , minced
  • 3 284-mL cans undiluted chicken broth
  • 284-mL can beef broth
  • 355-mL can or bottle beer , preferably lager, or 1 cup 250 mL dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup port , or dry sherry (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bay leaf , optional
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated gruyere
  • 1 cup crumbled Stilton


  • If serving soup on same day you are making it, slice baguette into 24 slices. Spread out on a counter to dry. Peel onions and cut in half lengthwise. Fit a food processor with a slicing blade. It may be necessary to cut onions in half again to fit down feed tube. Slice onions in processor. Or use a knife and thinly slice. Onions should measure about 15 cups (3.75 L). Melt butter in a large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 25 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add broths, beer, port, if using, thyme, pepper, bay leaf, if using, and mustard powder. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes to blend flavours. Taste and add more thyme, if needed. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  • Just before serving, place oven rack in top half of oven. Preheat broiler. In a small bowl, using a fork, mash Gruyère with Stilton. Spread about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cheese mixture over each baguette slice. Place individual serving bowls on a baking sheet. You may need 2 sheets to hold all bowls. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with 2 cheese-topped baguette slices. Place sheets under broiler and broil until cheese is bubbly, from 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 227,
  • Protein
  • 10.9 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 21.6 g,
  • Fat
  • 10.9 g,
  • Fibre
  • 2.6 g,
  • Sodium
  • 863 mg.

To streamline traditional onion soup, we eliminated the need for home-made beef stock and time-consuming caramelized onions. Instead, in this lighter-tasting version, we’ve used canned chicken broth and cut the onion cooking time by nearly half. Plus, it’s even better if made a few days ahead.

Make ahead

Soup will keep well, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 3 months. Cheese mixture can be made 3 days ahead as well, then wrapped and refrigerated. Baguette slices can be stored in an airtight container or sealed bag up to 3 days at room temperature. To reheat soup, cover and stir occasionally over medium-high heat until hot.