French Canadian Onion Soup


 This recipe serves 8


  • 5 Tbs vegetable oil Vegetable oil, canola
  • 2 lbs chicken backs and necks
  • 1 lb beef marrow bones, sawed into 1" pieces and wiped clean with damp cloth
  • 1 lb beef chuck in one piece Beef, chuck, blade roast, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/2" fat, prime, cooked, braised
  • 3 quarts water Water, municipal
  • 2 medium onions, unpeeled Onions, raw
  • 2 lbs onions (2 large), peeled and cut crosswise into 1/8" thick slices Onions, raw
  • 1 medium carrot, scraped and trimmed
  • 1 medium celery stalk including leaves Celery, raw
  • 1 small parsnip, peeled and trimmed Parsnips, raw
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley Parsley, raw
  • 1 medium bay leaf, tied up with the parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme, crumbled Spices, thyme, ground
  • 1 tsp salt Salt, table
  • 4 Tbs butter Butter, without salt
  • freshly ground black pepper Spices, pepper, black
  • 8 one inch thick slices French or Italian bread
  • 1 1/2 cups frshly grated cheddar cheese


Step 1

In a heavy 12" skillet, warm 3 tbsp oil over high heat until a light haze forms above it..... Brown chicken turning often until richly coloured but not burned. As the brown transfer to 8-10 quart casserole. Add beef bones and chuck browning deeply. Then add to casserole.

Step 2

Pour off any fat remaining, add 2 cups of the water. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring constantlyand scraping any brown particles that cling to bottom and sides. Pour this liquid and the the remaining 2 1/2 qts water over chicken and beef in the casserole.

Step 3

Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, meanwhile skimming off foam and scum as they rise to surface. Add unpeeled onions, the carrot,celery parsnip,parsley and bay leaf, thyme and salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered for 4 hours.

Step 4

Remove chicken parts , beef bones, chuck and vegetables. Pour remaining contents into a fine sieve, lined with double thickness dampened cheesecloth, which has been set over a very large pot. Let liquid drain through undisturbed, then skim off as much of the fat as possible.

Step 5

Meanwhile, melt butter with remaining 2 tbsps. oil in heavy 5-6 quart pan. When foam subsides add onion slices and, stirring occasionally, cook over low heat for 20-30 mins or until onions are a rich golden brown. DO NO LET BURN!

Step 6

Pour hot stock in and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and simmerpartially covered 30-40 mins or soup is the intensity of flavour you desire.Remove any fat that rises to the top and discard it. Seasonto taste with grinding of pepper and salt

Step 7

While soup is simmering,prepare the croutes: Preheat oven to 350 Arrange slices of bread neat to each other on a large baking sheet and toast in middle of oven for 5 mins on each side or til they are golden brown. Remove the croutes from oven and set aside. Raise oven to 375.

Step 8

Ladle into 8 ovenproof bowls. Place a croute in each bowl and sprinkle it with 3 tbsp. of grated cheese. Bake in top 1/3 of oven for 10-15 mins til cheese has melted. You can slide it under a hot broiler for a minute to brown top. Serve at once

Step 9



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