Cookbook author and TV personality Joanne Weir varies the vegetables in this soothing soup with the seasons. In the spring, for instance, she'll substitute sugar snap or snow peas or fresh edamame for the frozen baby peas listed here. Since a flavorful broth is critical to a soup as simple as this, use a rich stock. If you don't have time to make your own, pick one up from a specialty food store.
This soup goes back, as Gwyneth Paltrow writes in My Father's Daughter, to a French restaurant called La Serre in Los Angeles where she used to eat with her father. "I've always loved the idea of French onion soup," Gwyneth says, "without actually liking the soup itself." She cooks the onions slowly with fennel and lots of garlic, makes the soup with vegetable stock and sets the filled bowls under the broiler topped with a slice of toasted bread and a generous handful of grated cheese.