French Five Onion Soup

My dad brought this idea home from his favorite steak house when I was a kid.  He even bought special crocks to make it in.  I thought we were the only ones to eat French Onion Soup.  When I grew up and moved away I realized everyone knew about it and loved it too.  That didn’t take any of the magic away for me.  For years I made it almost weekly for my husband and myself using bouillon cubes.  I don’t use them for anything anymore, but make all of my own stocks.  I figure that if someone years ago taught me to make it the right way, I should go ahead and keep my freezer “stocked” at all times.  Dad loved the soup at Steak and Ale because they used prime rib jus for the base.  Imagine the luxury of having all those beautiful pan drippings to make soup with!  Amazing the chain ever went out of business.  I think it was the late 80s low fat craze and that stupid pyramid that did them in.

When I was in the third semester of culinary school we had an instructor, Chef Edward Fernandez, who taught us how to cook for the school’s Bistro.  He sang the praises of French Onion Soup and claimed that it was his favorite as he taught us his way of making it.  He said something to the effect that it’s not any good unless the cheese drips down your chin.  I believe we used smoked mozzarella to top the crouton for the soup in that class and he wanted it overlapping the edges of the bowl so that when we put it under the salamander it would ooze down the sides and the customer would be sure to get slapped in the face with melted cheese when they tried to eat it.  Now that was a man who knew and appreciated food! Everyone was terrified of him and we heard rumors of how stern he was before we ever got to his class.  I adored him!  When I watch Gordon Ramsay getting onto someone for doing something stupid I laugh and think of Chef Eddie.  A kitchen full of hooligans needs a strong leader and I hope that he is still busting butts in that Bistro class in Honolulu.

I turned this into 5 onion soup after seeing a bisque recipe that called for 5 different onions.  I figured I could come up with 5 different varieties of edible plants from the allium family.  It was actually the best I’ve ever made.  I’m sure the addition of Guinness didn’t hurt.  I don’t know if it could hold a candle to Chef Eddie’s or the one at Steak and Ale and I don’t even have special oven-proof bowls to serve it in, but we all got slapped in the chin with cheese the night I served it.  Perfect way to start the fall season!


4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 c. chives, chopped

2 c. sliced leeks

2 c. yellow onions, sliced thinly into rings

1/2 c. green onions, sliced

1 1/2 c. red onions, julienne

6 c. beef broth

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. Guinness

1/4 c. butter

3 T extra virgin olive oil

Salt & Pepper

6 to 8-  3/4 inch thick slices of French Bread

6 to 8 one oz. portions of sliced Baby Swiss cheese


In the bottom of a large stock pot, melt the butter and add the oil.  Saute the garlic in the butter/oil until translucent and add the remaining onions.

Slowly caramelize over low to medium heat for 40 to 45 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the Guinness and bring to a simmer.  Pour in the broths.  Simmer for one hour.

Drizzle bread slices with olive oil.  Broil until crisp and the edges are golden brown.

Cover each crouton with an ounce of cheese.

Broil until melted and bubbly.  Ladle soup into individual bowls and top each with a cheesy crouton.

Have a stack of napkins handy and enjoy!



  1. Joy October 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Could you make me a bowl, please??? LOL

  2. edibletapestry November 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Wince. You seem to be handling it pretty well though. I don’t know that I’d cope so well.


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