By: John Horne

This isn’t your everyday French Onion Soup — you’ve been warned!


(makes 4 to 6 servings – cooking time: 4-6 hours)

  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 10 large onions, peeled, cored and thinly sliced with the grain
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup Cognac or Brandy
  • 1 sachet of thyme, rosemary, black peppercorns and bay leaves
  • 3 L dark chicken stock

For garnish

  • Toasted slices of croissant or baguette
  • Shredded Gruyere
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, stir and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Lower heat and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the onions completely caramelized.
  4. When the onions have caramelized, stir in the tomato paste and cook for at least 30 more minutes.
  5. Pour in the red wine and Cognac or brandy, and toss in the sachet. Reduce mixture to one third.
  6. Add the stock and allow to simmer for one hour.
  7. Remove from heat, allow to cool and chill overnight.
  8. To serve, reheat soup gently, add a splash of brandy, taste and adjust seasonings.
    Serve in oven-proof bowls.
    Top each serving with toasted croissant slices and Gruyère.
    Place under broiler until cheese is melted and browned.
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