Almost Julia Child’s French Onion Soup


Almost Julia Child’s French Onion Soup

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Who am I to try improve upon Julia’s french onion soup? Well, it was more of an accident than a plan, and I can’t claim it’s definitely an improvement, but I know it is delicious.

Early on I had to follow directions to the letter, because I didn’t trust my own taste buds. Now I have reached the point where I trust my palate to tell me what I like best. I have grown metaphorically and unfortunately literally, according to my bathroom scale, but cooking is even more fun.

Learning from Mentors

Maybe it’s a stretch to call someone I have never met a mentor, but I was lucky enough to watch her groundbreaking television cooking show The French Chef. Actually, my grandmother watched her show and I was just a captive audience but I heard the passion in her voice as she cooked. She wanted anyone that tried her recipe to be successful, because mentors are teachers. I confess that I have had trouble caramelizing onions. I don’t know why, but with her directions something clicked and now I’m confident that I can do it again.

What makes this “Almost” Julia Child’s French Onion Soup?

What did I change? I reduced the cognac because my better half isn’t a fan of the taste of alcohol. Then because we were so hungry, in a rush to get it on the table I omitted the grated raw onion. Regardless, this recipe rocks and is easily the best french onion soup either of us has ever tasted.

  • Author: TJ
  • Yield: 4-8 1x


  • 6 cups yellow onion – thinly sliced about 1/8″ (2 very large onions)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion – raw and grated
  • 1 TBL vegetable oil
  • 2 TBL unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 TBL flour
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBL cognac
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 oz Parmigiana cheese – grated
  • 12 oz swiss cheese – grated
  • 1 loaf french bread
  • Olive oil



  1. Slice the onions 1/8th inch
  2. Shred the cheeses, mix together and set aside
  3. Bring a dutch oven or 12″ pan to medium low heat. Add the olive oil, then the butter to melt
  4. Add the onions, toss to coat evenly, cover and cook 20 minutes until soft and transparent
  5. Uncover, add salt and sugar and stir while cooking until browned and caramelized, about 25 minutes
  6. Stir in the flour
  7. Cook 2-3 minutes until it forms a paste (add more butter if necessary)
  8. Stir in 1 cup of beef stock and raise heat to medium high
  9. Add the remaining beef stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf
  10. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes
  11. Taste, adjust salt and pepper and hold on warm
  12. Preheat oven to 325
  13. Slice the bread into 1/2″ pieces then trim if necessary to fit the crocks
  14. Brush both sides with olive oil then bake for 15 minutes on each side
  15. Ladle the soup into the crocks, cover with bread then completely cover with a thick coating od cheese
  16. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cheese of each crock
  17. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 325
  18. Remove and cool for a few minutes before serving

onions 2

french onion soup soup in crocks

add bread with cheese and olive oil

french onion soup baking almost julia childs french onion soup

And just one more thing…

Next time I might add the raw onion, or I might not because I can’t imagine it can taste any better!