Prep 40 mins
Cook 3 hrs 45 mins
One of St. Louis's favorite soup recipes was recently printed in the Post-Dispatch. I remember going to St. Louis when I was young and my family going into the department store's restaurant for this famous soup. Enjoy! Famous-Barr's French Onion Soup
- 5 lbs onions, unpeeled
- 1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 7 (16 ounce) cans beef broth, divided (recommended Swanson's)
- 1 cup dry white wine (optional)
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour (such as Wondra) or 3⁄4 cup instant flour (such as Wondra)
- caramel coloring (optional) or Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- French baguette (optional)
- swiss cheese (optional) or gruyere cheese (optional)
- Peel onions and slice 1/8 inch thick, preferably in a food processor.
- Melt butter in a 6-quart (or larger) stockpot. Add onions; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- (The long cooking time makes the onions mellow and sweet.) Stir in pepper, paprika and bay leaf; saute over low heat 10 minutes more, stirring frequently.
- Pour in 6 cans broth and wine. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
- Dissolve flour in remaining 1 can broth.
- Stir into boiling soup.
- Reduce heat and simmer slowly for 2 hours.
- Adjust color to a rich brown with caramel coloring, season with salt. Refrigerate overnight. To serve, heat soup in microwave or on stove top.
- If desired, pour into ovenproof crocks or bowls.
- Top with a slice of bread and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Heat under the broiler until cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.
- Leftover soup can be frozen.
I have been making this soup for over 20 years and have never found another recipe that even comes close. It is time consuming but the results are amazing. The only thing that I do differently is, instead of mixing the flour with a can of broth, I add the flour to the paprika, salt and papper and make a roux by adding the mix to the tenderized onions. You need to stir constantly because you don't want the mixture to scorch or brown, but you do want to cook it long enough to get the flour taste to disappear. The roux takes about 10-20 minutes of stirring to get all the flour incorporated with the onion liquid. After the roux is ready, slowly start adding your liquid, stirring all the time. The result is a smooth, rich texture. No lumps and no flour taste. If it is too thick for your liking, add another can of broth.
If you're really ambitious...make your own stock! You will notice the difference. No "can" taste, more flavor and healthier too! Enjoy!
I finally got around to making this and kick myself for not doing so sooner. This is just a fabulous French Onion soup. The only "drawback" is processing the onions. Believe it or not, I put on swim goggles processing them!!! Maybe I just had extra potent onions??? But once that was done the rest was just a matter of time and the results were outstanding. I have several frozen lumps of French Onion soup to enjoy for some time to come (like tonight). Thank you for posting this one Bill. I usually don't say I'll do this one again but. . . . I'll do this one again.
The French Onion soup recipe is one of the most popular dish served at the Famous Barr (also part of the May Dept store group) restaurants found in St.Louis. Based on my travels to the various countries including Europe, Asia and US, this version of French Onion soup is one of the best I've had. My husband who is from London just loves this recipe. It is robust and hearty in beef and onion flavour and quite thick so you can enjoy this as a meal in itself (you might say it's great comfort food). Be sure to use the broiler until the cheese bubbles and turns golden brown over the French bread. Tip: Try to use the fresh French bread which is a bit chewy in texture. Bon Appetit.