Normandy Onion Soup Recipe by Leslie Chesterman

Makes six servings

Onion soup

  • 1.5 kg (3 lbs, about 7 medium) mixed onions
  • 6 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 135 g (10 tablespoons) butter
  • 500 ml (2 cups) dry Normandy cider or apple must
  • 50 g (1⁄3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 liters (6 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 18 slices 1.27 cm baguette, cut diagonally
  • 30 ml (6 teaspoons) Calvados* (optional)
  • 300 g (3 cups) grated cheese
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped green onion or parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Peel the onion, cut it in half and cut it as thin as possible.

2. Tie the parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary into a bun with kitchen twine.

3. In a large cast iron saucepan (Le Creuset style), melt 80 g (6 tbsp) butter over medium heat. When the oil starts to foam, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

4. When they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, this is a signal that they are ready. Deglaze with cider and add herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, in a second medium saucepan, melt the remaining 55 g (4 tbsp) butter over medium heat.

6. When dissolved, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is browned, about 2 minutes.

7. Slowly pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly, bring to a full boil. Reduce the heat to keep it simmering and simmer for 5 minutes.

8. Add the hot broth to the onion mixture and cook until reduced slightly, about 15 minutes.

9. Remove the greens, then season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

10. Divide soup among bowls, then place three slices of toasted baguette on each bowl.

11. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and pour 50g (1/2 cup) of Gruyère into each.

12. Transfer to oven and roast until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 5 to 7 minutes.

13. Top with chopped green onions or parsley and serve immediately.

Food sticks

1. Preheat the grill.

2. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast, flipping once, until browned.

3. Pour 1 tbsp. Calvados in each serving bowl (heat resistant).

Note from Leslie Chesterman: For this soup, I like to mix different varieties of onions, but I don’t use only white onions because they are less tasty.

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