Well worth the “time”

Onion Soup Les Halles
From: Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook
Total: a good 2-2 ½ hours….well worth it!!!!
Active: 1 ½ hours of prepping, cutting, slicing, measuring etc
Makes: 4 servings


6 ounces butter
4 large onions or 8 small onions, thinly sliced and trust the amount, they shrink!!
1 ounces port wine…good stuff…don’t skimp
1 ounces balsamic vinegar
8 cups or 2 quarts dark chicken stock, or low-sodium chicken or beef broth or both mixed!!
¼ tsp thyme
Salt & Pepper

8 sliced baguette slices, toasted in the oven with a little olive oil
“12 ounces grated Gruyère cheese real, imported Gruyère!”


1.  In a large pot, (like a dutch oven for best results) heat the butter over medium heat until it is melted and begins to brown. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and browned or “caramelized “..about 20 minutes). Onion soup, unsurprisingly, is all about the onions. Make sure the onions are a nice, dark, even brown color….truly caramelized which gives it great taste.

2.  Increase the heat to medium high and stir in the port wine and the vinegar, scraping all that brown goodness from the bottom of the pot into the liquid. Add the chicken stock. Note that the better and more intense your stock, the better the soup’s going to be. This soup, in particular, is a very good argument for making your own. Add the thyme and bring to a boil.

3.  Reduce to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, skimming foam off the top with a ladle.

For the baguette  and cheese:

1.  When the soup is finished cooking, ladle it into the individual crocks. Float two baguette slices side by side on top of each. Spread a generous, even heaping amount of cheese over the top of the soup. You want some extra to hang over the edges as the crispy, near-burnt stuff that sticks to the outer sides of the crocks is often the best part, once it comes out from under the heat.

2.  Place each crock under a preheated, rip-roaring broiler until the cheese melts, bubbles, browns, and even scorches slightly in isolated spots. The finished cheese should be a panorama of molten brown hues ranging from golden brown to dark brown to a few black spots where the cheese blistered and burned. Serve immediately— and carefully. You don’t know pain until you’ve spilled one of these
things on yourself!!!!