70’s French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup has been around the block and back again, with all kinds of versions, add-ins and what-nots to spice it up, when, really, all it needs is some properly cooked, good old-fashioned cooking onions, time and water.  yes, water! This recipe isn’t specific about amounts–a lot depends on the size of your pot, how much you want to make, how big your portions are etc. etc…just follow the method.


a boatload of cooking onions, thinly sliced (not spanish or vadelia..these are too watery). A boatload should fill up about half of your soup pot when raw



kosher salt

red wine

fresh thyme sprigs

bay leaf



Heat your soup pot (a heavy dutch oven works well) over medium heat.  Add a good amount of butter along with some oil.  Melt this before adding all of your onions

Sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the onions and stir.  Stir continuously over a medium-high heat until the onions begin to brown.  You should hear sizzle.  If you don’t, your pot may either be too dry (so add a bit more butter) or the heat too low (so increase the heat).

Once the onions begin to colour slightly, this is when you turn your heat down to low and ‘set it and forget it’.  leave onions to cook, uncovered, for an hour or two (or more!) stirring just every so often.

If you find your onions begin to stick to the bottom, no problem.  Add a splash of water to ‘deglaze’ the pot.

Once you’re satisfied with the colour of your onions, (Our philosophy: when you think they are brown enough, give them another 15 minutes.  You are looking for deep golden to chocolate brown in colour) add a large glass of good red wine.  Simmer for a few minutes before adding herbs and just enough water to cover.  Season with more salt and then let simmer for about an hour to develop flavours.

Serve the soup as you know how: topped with a good thick piece of crusty bread, dripping with melted cheese such as Swiss Gruyere or a great local cheese like Gunn’s Hill “5 Brother” Cheese.