How to Make French Onion Soup // Appreciating what you have in the moment

One day I’ll take a picture of our little kitchen in Portland and share it with you all. I haven’t done so yet because it usually looks like a tornado has just whizzed through. You wouldn’t be able to tell from the photos but our kitchen is basically a small walk-in closet. Add-in a fridge, a stove, minimal counter space, a few cute plants, and creaky wooden cabinets built in the 60’s, and that’s it folks. We fuss all the time about having to wash dishes by hand because we don’t have a dishwasher, or how much we can’t wait for the day when we have a humongous kitchen with all the room you could ever need. 
But you know what? 
Time goes by way too fast. Before we know it, 10 years will fly by and we’ll have a mortgage, kids running around, and a million things going on at once. We always want the next best thing. Instead of just reveling in the moment that we’re in and soaking in every experience. I’m flawed in this way as well – of always wanting more. But I know Thomas and I will look back when we’re turning grey and think of our life in Portland and say “we really had it made”. Being young and in love, struggling to save money but still feeling like we’re on top of the world, dancing to oldies in our little kitchen, making dinner at any-time of night because we can, crumb-y kisses after devouring a fresh batch of cookies -those are experiences that I want to soak in as much as possible and not take for granted. 

Something else I’ll always appreciate no matter how old we are, is how Thomas will forever be the onion cutter of the family. Maybe I’m just a baby, but I swear I cry more than anyone else when I slice into an onion. But you know what’s totally worth the misery  and tears? THIS FRENCH ONION SOUP.
It’s a glorious mix of buttery, golden, caramelized onions; slow-simmered, rich, broth; and crisp baguette topped with melted swiss and parmesan that creates the most epic cheese pull of all time. This is a super easy recipe and as an added bonus I tossed in half of a porter that I had in the fridge. So wipe your onion tears, drink the other half of your porter, and dive into this perfect bowl of soup.

Oh yeah… and most importantly enjoy the moment.

French Onion Soup

-3 tablespoons of butter
-5 cups of thinly sliced onions
-1 tablespoon of sugar
-1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tablespoon, chopped fresh thyme leaves
-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-1 cup of porter, stout, or any dark beer that you have
-6 cups of chicken stock
-Salt and pepper to taste
-1 baguette, sliced
-equal parts of grated parmesan and Swiss cheese. I would even pile it higher than I did in the picture above! You want plenty of cheese so it melts over the side and gets extra crispy. 

What to do
1) In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. 
2) Add the onions and cook them for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until golden in color. If they start sticking to the pot, you can add a little water a scrape with a wooden spoon. 
3)Add in the sugar, vinegar, garlic, and thyme, stir and let cook a minute until fragrant
4) Add the flour in, stirring and scraping the pot with a wooden spoon
5) Mix in your beer of choice and let simmer for a few minutes before adding in the chicken stock. Once the stock is in, let it simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper at the end if necessary. 
6) Ladle the soup into oven safe bowls, cover with sliced baguette, and sprinkle generously with parmesan and Swiss. 
7) Broil in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is golden, bubbly, and delicious. 

-Recipe was adapted from Marilou & Alexandre Champagne’s cookbook, 3 times a day.



  1. Brad
    March 29, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    I prefer using beef stock for french onion soup personally but I am intrigued to try this using the chicken stock.

    PS – Don’t you love autocorrect? It turned your oven safe bowls into ova safe bowls. 😉

    • Hillary Harper
      April 7, 2017 / 3:38 am

      Hey Brad! Beef stock would be delicious as well!

      Thanks for catching my funny spelling error! lol Sometimes I put a’s instead of er’s to be funny so I wanted to make sure I didn’t do "ova" on purpose 😉

  2. Shara Ash
    January 29, 2020 / 2:42 pm

    Hillary I love great french onion soup !! I am going to make this for sure!! Thanks for the great idea on this cool day!! Sharing with others !!

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