Old Famous Barr French Onion Soup – a Midwest Masterpiece

Some of the fondest memories of my youth are of the shopping trips that my grandmother took us on. Grandma spoiled us rotten, like grandmothers often do, but my grandma made spoiling an art. She would dress us up in fancy clothes, do our hair and whisk us away to a magical world of shopping, food and fun. One of her favorite places to go was the mall. Back then, Alton Square Mall was a bustling shopping center with stores galore.  It also housed two of our favorite restaurants; one of which was the restaurant inside Famous Barr.

Famous Barr’s restaurant served the most delicious, gooey, flavorful, cheese covered anomaly in the world. Those from the St. Louis metropolitan area likely already know that I’m talking about their amazing French Onion Soup. It was absolutely unforgettable and ever since my first spoonful, I have judged all other soups against it. Nothing compares. For years, I’ve thought about that soup and the other day, I finally made it! Below, you’ll discover the recipe I used to recreate Famous Barr’s French Onion Soup. I might be a little biased, but I think it’s the closest thing I’ve ever tasted to what I enjoyed in the restaurant as a child.

Famous Barr French Onion Soup Recipe

Famous Barr French Onion Soup Recipe

Ingredients:Preparing to Make French Onion Soup

  • 4 Sweet Vidalia or Sweet Yellow Onions
  • 4-5 green onions
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs Paprika
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • French Baguette or Croutons
  • Swiss, Provolone or Gruyere Cheese

French Onion Soup's Almost Done!Preparation:

  1. Slice sweet and red onions – about 1/8 inch thick is good. Shave off the small root shoots that may be at the bottom of the green onions, then finely chop them up.
  2. Melt the 1/2 cup of butter in the pot. Add onions to the pot and sprinkle sugar over them. Stir well. Cook on low-medium heat for about an hour, stirring about every 10 minutes.
  3. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir in freshly cracked pepper, bay leaf and paprika. Saute for about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour in 4 cups of beef broth and wine. Bring to a boil.
  5. Dissolve 1/2 cup of flour into 1 cup of beef broth. Stir the broth/flour mixture into the boiling soup.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and allow soup to simmer for 2 hours, uncovered.
  7. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and salt to taste.

If you plan to broil cheese over the top: Ladle soup into oven-safe soup crocks. Top soup with a slice of the French Baguette or croutons and either two slices or a generous handful of shaved or shredded cheese. Broil about 3 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble and brown.

If you do not have oven-safe bowls: Ladle soup into bowl. Top soup with a slice of French Baguette or croutons and either two slices or a generous portion of shaved or shredded cheese. Microwave for about 40 seconds, or until the majority of the cheese is well melted.

Makes 6 servings.


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