French Onion Soup; The Hall: the after

It’s amazing how excited one can get over having a hall finished….

But, there you have it!

And it’s not even completely finished…. You may notice that 3 of the 4 doors still have their green trim and the opening into the kitchen is almost, but not quite, finished.


May I present:

Our stairs.


First, we move my desk underneath the stairs…..


It tucked in rather nicely.

It had to move so we could set up the Welsh Dresser…..


This is opposite the opening into the kitchen and next to the doors going out to the balcony.

It’s the first major piece of furniture mon mari made – for me.  It has book cases that go on either side but we don’t have a long enough wall so….


They went further down the hall.  You can’t really tell in the photo but there is a post (we wall papered it) between them.

On the other side of the hall, same view….


In case your wondering – there are 16 steps going up to the first floor.

The view from the other end of the hall….


The door next to the Welsh dresser goes into what will be the dining room, currently our bedroom.

And the other side…..


And that’s our hall (Take a bow, mon mari.…. Well done!)

To celebrate I made some French Onion Soup.

Onion Soup Prep

Back when life was more settled I used to collect soup recipes.

Whenever I found a particularly good soup in a restaurant, I asked for the recipe.

I usually got it…. Sometimes verbally, sometimes the back of a napkin,….

This one was very carefully written out, in French, from a restaurant in California.

IMHO, it’s the best I’ve ever tasted – even when I make it…..

To make it vegetarian, use vegetable base instead of beef.

To make it without the wine…. Don’t bother.

This makes 4 servings.

French Onion Soup

Soupe À L’Oignon (French Onion Soup)

This recipe does not use any stock, but rather white wine with beef base. This is different than regular old ‘bouillon cubes. You’ll find it in jars in the soup section, normally and it’s usually a paste. I always have both chicken and beef on hand to use for stock. This makes just 4 servings, very thick with onions… as it should be.

5 large onions  I use half red, half white
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
5 tbs flour
4 cups white wine
1 cup water
5 tbs beef base,  paste or powdered
4 thick slices country bread, or several smaller slices of French baguette, stale is okay
1 1/3 cup shredded Gruyère cheese, 5oz (150gr)
1 cup grated Parmesan, 4oz (115gr)

Cut onions in half and thinly slice. Heat butter and oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add flour and sauté briefly, stirring – about 1 minute. Slowly add the water, stirring constantly until thickened. Slowly add the wine, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Add the beef base, stir well, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Shred and grate cheeses if necessary. Slice bread 1″ (2.5 cm) thick. Trim to fit in oven proof soup bowls. Pre-heat broiler (grill). When hot, put bread on tray and toast 1 side under broiler, about 1 minute.

Fill the soup bowls half-way with soup.  Lay the bread on tops, toasted side down. Ladle the remaining soup over bread. Top with both cheeses. Put bowls on a tray and slide under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve.

Next project:  The den.

11 thoughts on “French Onion Soup; The Hall: the after”

  1. De-lurking to say:
    What a fabulous, cozy spot for a desk! Your house is turning out just beautifully — I certainly do visit here as much to see what’s going on there as for the recipes.
    The soup sounds fantastic, too.

  2. I love the new hall and all the wood furnishings. It’s lovely! And that onion soup? That’s lovely too. Lovely and intriguing enough for me to save it and figure out how to make it without flour or bread. I’ll let you know. 🙂

  3. Wow! This is such a contrast with the pictures in the previous post! It looks lovely, livable and welcoming. You two have such good vision for projects like this!

  4. I saw a French Canadian version of the recipe where you add a couple TBSP of maple syrup to the onions after they’re done cooking but before you add the liquid (wine/stock). Sooooo good.

  5. Beautiful!! Both the hall and the soup.
    We just had French onion soup the other day – based on the “les halles” recipe for onion soup in one of the Silver Palate Cookbooks (sorry about the double article – I was lazy about trying to reword the sentence) recipe . We always use chicken stock in place of beef stock….
    I adore that soup!! (How happy am I that there is stock bubbling gently on the stove right now. But now I’m torn; should we make squash soup or onion soup?)

  6. Penny, I like my little nook….
    Laurie, thank so much – and thanks for leaving the comment! We like encouraging words….
    Christine – thanks… and you could just have the cheese… and thicken just a bit with cornflour or arrowroot.
    Tracy, slowly we’re getting there.
    Thanks, Jeff. It feels so good to have something done!
    Rachel, maple syrup… interesting. I used the red onions for a bit of sweetness. I’ll try that – I even have maple syrup.
    Elizabeth, I think chicken stock is more common, but, this was the recipe the chef gave me – and he was French. It’s also a lot thicker than any I’ve seen in most restaurants. Much as I hate winter, I love soup season.
    Baking Soda, Mon mari says merci.

  7. Greetings from Minneapolis. I just made this. Fantastic recipe for a gloomy fall day. I ended up using 3 tbsp beef base instead of 5 (the brand I used was exceptionally salty) and Sauvignon Blanc for the wine. I will be making this all winter long.

    • I’m so glad you liked it!. I still have the original recipe, scribbled on a scrap of paper, in French. I make it often in winter, too. It’s been a few years since I’ve been back to Mpls…. I miss it! Stay warm.

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