French Onion Soup

January 13, 2016
French Onion Soup - This version of the classic is gorgeously cheesy, not gunky. Slow cooking gives the broth depth of flavor and a silky texture

Has anyone else ever been overwhelmed by

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all of the recipes you’ve saved to try?

Every year around the holidays, when I have a bit of free time, I try to tackle some much-needed organization.  This year, my ever-growing assortment of recipes

My goodness, I have them clipped to One Note, bookmarked, saved to Word Docs, pinned to Pinterest boards, flagged in cookbooks and magazines.  I’m beginning to wonder if I want to cook every delicious thing I see(!)

Part-way through, I couldn’t help but smile and think about my brother. The last time we were together, he asked what my process was when it came to recipe organization.  Looking at my scattered collection, no wonder I didn’t have a clear answer.

French Onion Soup - This version of the classic is gorgeously cheesy, not gunky. Slow cooking gives the broth depth of flavor and a silky texture

Is it too much to dream of corralling all of these great recipes into one place?  Making myself into an equal-opportunity cook,  where a handwritten recipe from a friend has just as much appeal as a casserole from an old church cookbook, like that from a favorite blogger.

So I’ve taken a cue from him and started asking friends, as well as fellow Iowa food bloggers for inspiration.  It’s been a lot of fun hearing their answers


There are so many pieces of software offering variations on the theme of a one-stop organization.  The best of which have app components so you can use them on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, letting us have our recipes (and shopping lists) at our fingertips

A few that were mentioned?  Paprika .. Big Oven .. Recipe Box .. and Pepperplate.

Other digital resources?  Evernote – a friend, loves it because it’s free and multi-platform.  She’s able to scan handwritten recipes, along with those typed online.  For those she hasn’t scanned, she still makes an entry with a note where to find it “in February’s Food & Wine Magazine.”

Eat Your Books – A resource that will help us search through recipes in our own collections.  It’s especially great if you have a sizable stockpile of cookbooks

Pinterest – Honestly one of my favorites, with pretty pictures galore(!)  I love the quick visual, and the ability to see a picture along with the recipe’s name.  One blogger wrote, “I just pin everything.  If it comes from a favorite book, usually I can find a blogger who wrote about it somewhere.”

MacGourmet – This one was new to me.  It’s an online organizer of recipes with an added twist.  A cookbook builder that lets you create your own look, including text, image and divider pages, a table of contents template, and PDF options.

French Onion Soup - This version of the classic is gorgeously cheesy, not gunky. Slow cooking gives the broth depth of flavor and a silky texture


Even though it’s 2015, it turns out there are more people than I ever expected who prefer the old-school way of organization.

“While I love what digital can do for so many things in life, I’m still much more fond of a food-splattered binder, and paper that I can write in the margins.” 

“If I have a recipe that’s handed down to me on paper, I keep that (I’m sentimental that way), but I will file it in a binder.”

Or words of wisdom from women at the gym who seemed to have found the best of both worlds

“For recipes I want to try, I use Post-it notes in cookbooks,  Evernote for online recipes, and a manila folder for torn-out magazine pages or other random paper-based recipes.  Once I’ve cooked a recipe and liked it enough that I know I want to make it again and again, it gets written down or printed out and goes in a binder.  Each recipe in the special approved-recipes binder is in a plastic sleeve and is filed by recipe type (veggie main, meat main, soup, salad .. etc.)”

“My biggest revelation in recipe organization was to stop trying to put them all into one place and instead use a consistent category system in all places (three binders, internet bookmarks, recipe book, etc.)”

Readers, I’m curious; what’s worked for you?  Have you gotten super organized with your recipes?  How did you do it?  I’d love to hear!

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Over Christmas break, I tried my hand at homemade beef bone broth, and have been looking for ways to use it ever since.

The beauty of french onion soup is how incredible it tastes even though there are only a few ingredients.  It doesn’t need anything more.  Is there anything more comforting on a chilly day?  Especially with a thick slice of toasted bread loaded with melty Gruyere cheese, and lots of caramelized onions.



~ Adapted from Gourmet | December 2006

French Onion Soup


  • 2 lb onions halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 - 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay Leaves
  • ½ tsp fine-grain sea salt + more to taste
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp flour (any variety will work)
  • ¾ cup dry white wine (red wine is great in this soup as well)
  • a small splash of balsamic vinegar
  • a small splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ½-inch-thick diagonal slices of baguette
  • 1 (½-lb piece) Gruyère, Comte, or Emmental
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  • Cook onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently until onions are very soft and deep golden brown (~ 45 minutes)
  • Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
  • Add the broth, water, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally (30 minutes)
  • While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry (~ 15 minutes)
  • Remove croûtes from the oven and preheat broiler.
  • Put soup crocks in a shallow baking pan. Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among crocks
  • Float a croûte in each.
  • Slice enough Gruyere (~ 6 oz total) with a cheese plane to cover tops of crocks, allowing ends of cheese to hang over rims of crocks, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly (~ 1 to 2 minutes)
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 390
Total Fat 21.3g
Saturated Fat 14g
Carbohydrates 30g
Fiber 2.8g
Sugars 8.4g
Protein 17.5g
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