Six Onions Soup

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Not sure why, but the onions at our market this week are stunning. So it seemed a good time to answer a reader request for a “little different onion soup.” This just-a-little-different recipe for onion soup features a caramelized onion base, madeira, beef-stock, and gruyere-topped toast, but with six different onion cousins: white, red, yellow, leek & scallion, with a chive garnish. Rich and sweetly savory, it is based on a soup I found at the North Face Lodge in Alaska’s Denali National Park.

Makes 10 servings

Six Onion Soup Ingredients

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 leeks, whites only
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 of each:  large yellow onion, large red onion and large white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch shallots, sliced fine
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup port or Madeira
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced chives


  1.  Make the toasts: Preheat oven to 350. Slice the baguette into 16 slices for 8 servings, or 20 slices for 10 people. Place all on a cookie sheet and toast a few minutes on each side until crisped and lightly browned,
  2. Clean and trim roots from the leeks and scallions. Save the green part of the leeks for another use. Slice the white part of the leeks, all of the scallions. Thinly slice the yellow, red and white onion. You will have a mountain of onion!
  3. In two large saute pans, or, dutch ovens, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Divide the onions between the two pots. Lower the heat and saute until completely cooked through and tender.
  4. Sprinkle the salt and sugar (half for each pan) over the onions. Stir to incorporate. Saute for three more minutes without stirring. Gently turn to caramelize both sides. Sprinkle with the flour. Stir to coat. Saute for another three minutes to toast the flour.
  5. Combine all of the onions in one of the pots, set the other pot aside. Deglaze the pot with the onions in it with half of the Madeira or port. Gradually stir in the beef stock. Add remaining Madeira or port. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
  6. While soup is simmering, grate the cheese.
  7. Using small, oven-proof soup crocks, place one baguette slice in the bottom of each crock. Cover with grated cheese. Ladle onion soup over each toast; the toasts  will float to the top. Top each crock with a second baguette slice. Press down to dampen the toast with broth. Flip the toast and cover with more cheese. Place under broiler for 2 minutes until bubbling, browned and hot. Garnish with snipped chives. Serve at once.

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