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Rita’s French Onion Soup Recipe

Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
4 hrs
Serves 6 – 8
In this Recipe

In the Leahy family, Christmas Eve always meant French Onion Soup and hamburgers. Here’s Rita Leahy’s recipe for French Onion Soup. This recipe includes making beef stock from scratch, which we think is lots of fun, and adds extra flavor, but you can use 6 cups of store bought stock instead to simplify the recipe. We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family does. Cheers!


  • 2 lb Beef Shanks (can also use veal shanks)
  • 6 cup Water
  • 2 Carrot (scraped and cut into 2″ pieces)
  • 2 Onion (roughly chopped)
  • 2 Celery (cut into 2″ pieces)
  • 2 clove Garlic (smashed)
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 6 Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Port Wine
  • French Bread (sliced and toasted)
  • Shredded Cheese (use Gruyere for best results)


  1. First make stock by placing beef and veal shanks in an open roasting pan and put into a 450ºF oven for 20-25 minutes until browned.

  2. Transfer to a a 5-6 quart pan, then add cold water, chopped vegetables, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 2 hours.

  3. After simmering, remove the cover, and skim off any fat that has risen to the surface. Remove bones, meat, and vegetables, and discard. Strain the stock and set aside.

  4. Add the butter and olive oil to a large, heavy bottomed 4-qt. covered pot (like a Dutch oven) and heat to medium high heat. Add the thinly sliced onions and sauté until limp. Cover and let simmer in the butter for 15 minutes. Add additional butter if necessary.

  5. After 15 minutes, pour in 6 cups of the beef stock (or store bought substitute) and let simmer for 30 minutes. Pour in wine, stir, then taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bake in a 350ºF oven for 30 minutes.

  6. To serve, ladle the soup into an oven-proof bowl. Top each bowl with a slice of toasted French bread, then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Place in a 475ºF oven for 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler to lightly brown the cheese. Remove and serve hot. Be careful not to burn yourself on hot bowls. Enjoy!!

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