Go Back

Onion and Fennel Soup Gratin

Barefoot Contessa's Onion and Fennel Soup Gratin is a deliciously rich soup - caramelized onions and fennel in a buttery beef broth, topped with savory cheese and a thick slice of bread. Enjoy it as an appetizer or a meal in and of itself.

Course Appetizer, Soup
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Author Liz


  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. Spanish onions quartered and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 2 lbs. fennel tops and cores removed, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 c. dry sherry
  • 1/2 c. brandy
  • 1 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 8 c. low-sodium beef broth
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small sourdough, white French boule, or baguette cut into 1/2 in thick slices
  • 4-6 oz. Gruyère cheese grated


  1. In a large stock-pot over medium-high heat, melt butter and olive oil. Add onions and fennel and cook until golden-brown, 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. When browned, add sherry and brandy. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up bits from bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for another 15  minutes.
  3. Add broth, bay leaves, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. At this point, the broth was fairly flavorless. I added at least 1 tsp. pepper and 1 Tbs. kosher salt.
  4. Preheat broiler. Pour soup into oven-safe serving bowls. Top with toasted bread and grated cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted.