Author: Laura Dewis

French onion soup

Updated Thursday, 28th June 2007
Try out our recipe from the Ever Wondered About Food series

This page was published 14 years and 6 months ago. Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see our Archive and Deletion Policy.

bowl of onion soup [photo:Ed miller]

Serves 4


French onion soup

  • 75 g (3 oz) butter
  • 1 kg (2 lb) onions, very finely sliced into rings
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) white wine
  • 600 ml (1 pt) strong beef stock (ingredients below)
  • A little Madeira

Beef stock

  • 1 kg (2 lb) chicken wings
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml or 0.5 fl oz) groundnut oil
  • 2 kg (4 lb) beef trimming
  • 2 pieces of oxtail
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • Small bunch of thyme
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 whole carrot, peeled
  • ½ onion, peeled

To serve

2-day-old baguette
Emmental cheese, grated


Beef stock

Make the beef stock first, so it’s ready when you need it.

You can use the method below or buy some good beef stock from the butchers.

  1. Place the chicken wings in a stock pot and pour in enough water to cover them. Bring up to the boil. Strain through a colander to get rid of the water (this removes some of the fat from the chicken wings).
  2. Heat the groundnut oil in a separate, heavy-based casserole pan on the hob.
  3. Place the beef trimmings in the pan in batches and cook until really well coloured. Brown the 2 pieces of oxtail in the same way.
  4. Put the beef trimmings and chicken wings in the stock pot, add the remaining ingredients and pour in enough water to cover it all. Cook over a very low heat for up to 3 hours.
  5. Skim the surface of the stock occasionally to get rid of the fat and scum.

Onion soup

  1. Place half the butter and all the onions in a casserole pan.
  2. Allow the onions to caramelise, adding the rest of the butter half way through. The caramelisation may take half an hour.
  3. Add the white wine and allow to simmer until almost evaporated.
  4. Add the beef stock and simmer for half an hour.
  5. Before serving, add the Madeira.


  1. Cut thick slices of the baguette and dry in an oven for 10 minutes at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Top with the grated Emmental cheese and place under the grill until melted.

To Serve

Add the baguette croutons to the soup and serve immediately.

Did you know?

Garlic is a true super food when it comes to heart disease. Numerous studies have shown that regular consumption of garlic can lower blood pressure.





Ratings & Comments

Share this free course

Copyright information

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?