Red Wine Soup

Soupe à la Bourguignonne

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Servings:

    4 or 5

Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

Somewhat reduced, with an additional garnish of sautéed mushrooms and little butter-cooked onions, this soup becomes the basic Burgundy sauce in which beef is cooked for a Bourguignon, chicken for a coq-au-vin, eel for a matelotte; poached eggs, brains, veal, lungs, or a variety of river fish, thus sauced, are said to be en meurette.

The dried crusts and chopped herbs may be replaced by crisp little croutons cooked in butter and rapidly sautéed in a persillade at the last minute. Their charm, unlike the soaked crusts, resides in their crispness and their nutty, brown-butter separateness of flavor, so they should be added only as the soup is being served.


  • 3 ounces lean salt pork (unsmoked bacon), cut into small (¼-inch) lardons, parboiled 2 minutes and drained
  • tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces sweet onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt
  • Bouquet garni: branch of celery, thyme, bay leaf, parsley (including root, if possible), fragment of lovage, if available
  • 3 cups red wine
  • Slices of dried-out bread rubbed with garlic
  • Chopped parsley or fines herbes


Cook the lardons gently in ½ tablespoon butter, tossing, until lightly colored. Add the onions and cook over a very low heat, covered, stirring occasionally (add a bit more butter, if necessary) for about ½ hour, without permitting the onions to brown. Sprinkle over the flour, stir regularly for a couple of minutes, and add the water, slowly at first and in small quantities at a time, stirring the while and bringing to a boil before adding more, salt lightly, add the bouquet garni, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Add the red wine, return to a boil, and cook, covered, at a bare simmer, for about 1 hour, skimming two or three times during the last 5 minutes to remove any skin or traces of fat visible at the surface. Stir in the remaining butter at the moment of serving, pour the soup over the crusts, and sprinkle with the chopped herbs.