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Onion Soup

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed good food and good company.

Presumably you read my PSA on Facebook and turned your turkey bones into a nourishing and delicious soup stock! (Here’s my method.)

Whether or not you took my advice, most of us can agree that a warm bowl of soup is the perfect complement to cold winter temperatures.

Today I’m sharing a recipe for one of my favorite soups: Onion Soup.

I used to think this soup must be super complicated, since it’s so rich in flavor. Much to my surprise, it’s actually quite foolproof. The key is to brown the onions for a long, long time until they get perfectly caramelized.

Beef broth is the classic base for onion soup, but I’ve made this with chicken and turkey stock with equally good results. Use whatever you have on hand. (If you do make beef stock, be sure to start with bones from grass-fed cows.)

Onion Soup

  • 5 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 quarts homemade beef broth (chicken or turkey broth also works - see notes)
  • 4 oz dry white wine (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice onions. (If your food processor has a slicing attachment, this is really fast!)
  2. In a large heavy bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions, bay leaf, and thyme. DO NOT ADD SALT YET, otherwise your onions will steam instead of brown.
  3. Allow onions to brown for 25-30 minutes, stirring every few minutes. (Yes, it takes that long! The onions should be caramelize to a deep brown color. There might be some brown bits stuck to the bottom. That’s ok! Keep stirring and cooking. Those pan scrapings are what gives this so much flavor. If you think it’s burning, reduce your heat to medium or medium-low.)
  4. If using, add wine and stir to deglaze the pan (a wooden spoon works best for this). Simmer for 2 minutes. Then add the beef stock. (Alternatively, skip the wine. The stock will deglaze the pan.)
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasonings and serve.
  7. If you tolerate dairy, add freshly grated, aged Gruyere cheese!

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Here's a tutorial on how to make homemade broth from scratch.

Onion Soup Browning Onions
After about 5 minutes, they begin to brown. Be sure to start on medium-high heat. You want to hear the sizzle!
Onion Soup Browning Onions
These still aren’t done! For some reason, I forgot to take a picture of the onions fully caramelized, but they should turn a deep brown color before adding the wine/stock to deglaze.
Beef Broth
I always keep homemade broth in the freezer! This batch was extremely rich and gelatinized.
Bowl of Onion Soup
Fresh thyme to garnish.
Onion Soup
Onion soup is ready to eat!

Find respite from winter, cozy up by the fire, and enjoy a bowl of onion soup!

Now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your favorite soup to enjoy during the winter months? Tell me in the comments below!

Until next week,
Lily

Veggies: Eat them because you want to, not because you have to

Your guide to making vegetables taste seriously good

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.

9 Comments

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  1. Loooove onion soup. With lots of croutons and cheese. So delicious.
    My #1 tip for when making it at home is to be sure to put the oven vent on…I forgot last year, and spent a week with an apartment (and a down winter coat!) that stunk of onions. I got a lot of practice on my ‘innocent face’ when people around me would start sniffing, looking for the source. (But that said, the soup was so worth it.)

    • Good call, Devon. It can be a strong smell!

      For those who can handle wheat + dairy, the cheese-crusted croutons are a delicious addition! Yummy. 🙂

  2. Love your tips, and your energy! I’ve seen on various sites that Onions are very high in vitamin C, and were often used in olden days as poultices to fight off colds and congestion. Looks like a good recipe to try – thank you!

    • While they’re not particularly high in vitamin C, onions do contain other nutrients that aid immune function. And homemade broth is always on the table when I feel like I’m getting sick.

  3. I made this today! Came out great! Good way to use up my onions as well!

    • Nice! Did you add the wine or do the broth-only version?

  4. Yum. I would need to take some digestive enzymes with this- that’s a lotta onions for me (FODMAP sensitive) but I know my husband would love it!!

  5. I LOVE onion soup and always forget to make it. Was so happy to see this post and made it last night! So simple and yummy and can’t wait for my leftovers for lunch today. Didn’t use white wine as I didn’t have any in the house but I didn’t miss it. Also threw in a little garlic as I tend to do with everything 🙂 Just had to pop back over here to say thanks!

    • Happy to hear it turned out well, Leah! It’s surprising how good it is, even without the wine. 🙂

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