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French 3-Onion Soup with Lager

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This classic soup gets a lift from lager; the beer’s light sweetness enhances the sugars that result from slow-cooked onions. Keep a close eye on the pot: The onions can turn from sweet and caramelized to bitter and charred in mere moments.

Makes: 8

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced sweet onion (about 1 pound)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 1½ pounds)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about ½ pound)
  • 1 12-ounce bottle lager
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 12 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 slices crusty bread
  • 4 cups shredded Swiss cheese, like Gruyère


• In a large soup pot or Dutch oven (the more surface area, the better) over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, leeks and shallots; do not stir for at least 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they are completely soft and caramelized.
• Pour in the beer and stir, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the beef stock and black pepper, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes.
• Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the thyme leaves, cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
• While the soup steeps, cut bread slices to fit snugly inside ovenproof ramekins or crocks. Toast each bread slice in the toaster or a low oven.
• Pour the soup into 8 ramekins or crocks, top each with a slice of toast and pile ½ cup shredded cheese on top of each toast. Place the ramekins on a baking tray, and set the tray under a broiler. Broil until the cheese melts, and serve.


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