My mom and dad used to pull out all the stops when they would throw a dinner party. Looking back, these parties are probably what instilled a love of great food and entertaining in me. Although they made several different recipes over the years, two in particular stand out in my mind: My dad’s Caesar salad (which I will share at another time) and my mom’s French onion soup, both of which hold a special place in my heart…er, stomach. I have eaten French onion soup all over the world, including Paris, and to this day my mom’s version tops them all. It’s a simple classic recipe without a lot of bells and whistles, but it is my favourite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

4 tbsp bacon fat

4 tbsp butter

2lbs cooking onions, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup red wine

900 ml beef stock

900 ml chicken stock

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

12 1 inch slices of baguette

2 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 cup shredded gruyere cheese

  • Melt the bacon fat and butter in a very large skillet placed over medium heat.  Add the sliced onions and stir to coat with fat.  Turn down to medium low and cook the onions uncovered for 35-45 min, stirring every 10 min. Adjust the temperature of your burner accordingly to prevent the onions from burning. When the onions are done they will be soft, sticky and a rich caramel colour.

  • Add the red wine to the skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom.  Bring red wine to a simmer and cook for 3 min.

  • Add beef and chicken stock to skillet and bring back to a simmer, cooking covered for 30 min.*

  • Meanwhile place your baguette slices on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil.  Place into a 350 degree oven and cook for 5 min on one side, turn over and cook for another 5 min. Remove from oven and rub a garlic clove all over the toasted baguette.

  • Ladle onion soup into 6 oven-proof bowls, top each with 2 toasted baguette pieces and divide grated cheese over each bowl.

  • Place bowls on to a baking sheet for easy transfer and place back in the oven for 12-15 min, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

TIP: You can make the onion soup ahead of time and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

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