Essentially a hearty consumme, this onion soup is tasty and not very difficult to make.


1/4 pound butter
6 large yellow or brown onions, sliced thin
2 white onions, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
7 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
Chunk of butter
6 1/2 inch thick slices french bread
Grated gruyere cheese


1. melt 1/4 pound butter in saucepan and add 6 thinly sliced onions. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Add sugar and flour then cook while stirring for a few minutes then add stock, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings if neccessary.
2. Saute 2 white onions in chunk of butter until carmelized. Once they are brown and slightly crisp, add to the soup.
3. Toast french bread, then place in a warm oven to dry out. Fill individual earthenware bowls with soup. Put toasted bread atop soup. Let bread soak and sink, then sprinkle with cheese. Broil a few minutes to brown cheese.
Serve hot with crusty french bread.

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Essentially the same as the above two recipes , except for the stock is made with mushrooms. If you don't like mushrooms, this recipe isn't for you.

To make the stock, you will need 1 pound of mushrooms. I used portabella because they were on sale, I am sure this would taste just as good with button. Slice them up, and sautée in butter or oil until they are dark and mushy. This should leave you with a nice brownish liquid in the bottom as well. If you didn't start in a stock pot, move it to a stock pot and add just enough water to cover the mushrooms. Let it simmer for about 1 ½ to 2 hours (adding water as needed).

To this stock I added about 3 tbsp of red wine and about 1 ½ tbsp of soy sauce and about 3 tsp of sea salt. You may choose to add less salt, but French onion soup tends to be on the salty side because of the beef broth typically used.

Cut up about 4 cups of onions. Place them in a skillet and cook them until soft (with a lid so that they don't brown). When soft, add about 1 ½ tbsp of flour to the mix, stir it in, and then dump the onion/flour mix into the stock. Let this boil for about 30 minutes.

Section into soup into bowls, and place some dry two week old bread into the soup. Top this with guyere or swiss cheese and bake until the cheese is stuck to the bowl and brown.

I just made this, and it's very good.

I am the tongue
you are the marrow
you are the wound
I am the arrow.

There is a certain style or mode of cooking that I give to the world now which at the time of this writing has yet to be named. I will leave the matter of this naming to others, those who come after me, who follow my outline abroad amongst the confectionary sugar of history, which is how I think of my life, and which is itself a gift to all the little people much like myself also.

It might be called adaptive or additional, but I think for the people to understand and adopt these practices it will likely need a more poignant or colorful description. For now I suppose it makes the most sense if we call it sur la table avec Monsieur Dermot. Let me explain.

A true chef does not need to reinvent the revolving spheres that allow vehicles and other things of movement to go around. His time is a valuable resource that must be husbanded carefully when ready to create in the kitchen, as is true of any artist in his studio fashioning the products of his genius for the benefit of others even those one might deem unfit. Never forget, Michelangelo didn't paint every cherub's golden tendril, there were accomplices and acolytes who worked beneath the Master’s eye and so it is with me also, especially, in this case, when it comes to French onion soup. The world does not wait for yet more French onion soup like all the other soups involving broth and onions and a little sherry perhaps. The world expects a good deal more and this is my point.

Whole Foods does a very good French onion soup. Not bad at all. Decanted into a popinchaded tureen, sprigged with parsley or somesuch, and few would know that you didn’t spend hours weeping an endless series of onions into small pieces all afternoon, but instead were upstairs with your mistress dozing between hand-jobs and generally resting up for night. Unlike the Gospel according to St. Anthony, it does not best befit the chef to exhaust his faculties or occlude his palate. We are racehorses, not carthorses. Sculptors of beauty, not hewers of plain stone. Thus first go to Whole Foods and buy a large carton (or two) of their French onion soup and have them put it in a plain brown paper sack and bring it back to the quiet bosom of your private kitchen.

Now begins the new style, the augmentation of the everyday into the extraordinary.

More cheap sherry from the back of the cupboard is first, for body, but not too much body at that; as with all assets, embrace the well-proportioned bodice of just enough. Now take some fresh black Russian bread (and if one was not adding but instead stealing or re-inventing this is where the soup would be renamed Reilly Russian Onion Soup, but no, we have further to go before dawn and classical goals, we are for burnishing the history of an institution, not perverting some old dame in a railway siding of no import).

Essentially we are making croutons here. Cut up the bread into bite-sized pieces, discard the crusts in the dog’s direction. Toss bread in olive oil and posh salt. Press six garlic gloves through the garlic pressing machinery and ensure that they are smeared all over the bread like Vaseline on a boxer’s cut and then fry them in a hot skillet, turning all the time, until beginning to crisp. Hard to see them brown as the bread is black, follow your instincts here, we want a toasted garlic flowing into the soup, not the scents of burnt scabs.

Grate gruyère and emmental also if you have it. Plenty more than you’d imagine. Pour the soup into a suitable (preferably round) baking dish. Take as many very thin slices of chateaubriand (filet mignon) as you can reasonably afford and let them slip into the waters like the body of an unconscious rival being lowered from the back of a sailboat in the middle of Lake Geneva long after the gloom of midnight. Yes, raw. Float the croutons in a single layer. I aim high, but work fast. Cover the entire surface of the bowl with your cheese. Add more cheese. Now, in a professional kitchen, I would take the blow-torch out of the hands of the adorable young Mexican who is making Creme Brulée and dance the blue flame across the cheese until it browned and shimmered, crackling into a perfect crust. At home, unless you employ welding equipment in your line of work, put the bowl under the grill/broiler as close as you’re able and stand back. Use gloves. Everything will be liquidly hot and unutterably painful if it fuses with human flesh. Decant with ladle into fine china.

With practice you will learn to ensure that you have twice as much meat as toast while your dinner companions enjoy fractions in the precisely opposite proportion. If, over the years, you always guard use of the ladle they will never know the difference. And it will still be delightful. The best French onion soup in all of Christendom and far beyond the dreams of even Charlemagne. They will love you. There will be deep warmth, a thrall even, and this certain feeling that all of life’s limits have been removed. Those assembled will understand then that nothing’s as simple in its complexity as the perfect soup and thus will the Lion will lay down with the Lamb without thought of slaughter, such will be the sense of replete well-being. Call it what you will.

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