FRENCH ONION SOUP
Is there anything more comforting than a steaming hot bowl of soup? French onion soup is a savory and slightly sweet bowl of comfort topped with garlicky toast and melted cheese.
Make yourself a Cosmopolitan Martini. Then dig your spoon into your bowl and ease into your hungry anticipation as you watch the gooey cheese strings and take in the heady aroma of the broth. Sigh and feel the tension ease from your body.
This soup has a depth of flavor that takes it to another level. Forget the bitter or weak onion soups that you’ve suffered through in restaurants past. Taking the time to slowly caramelize the onions in butter and using a homemade or quality chicken broth builds a rich flavor profile. Worchestershire sauce, wine, and vinegar add a note of umami that makes the soup crave-worthy.
FRENCH ONION SOUP INGREDIENTS
Here are the ingredients for our rich French Onion Soup:
- Onions - I like using a variety of both sweet and yellow for a more sophisticated flavor
- Butter - you could use olive oil, but the butter adds richness
- Garlic and shallots - again, using both for a depth of flavor
- White wine - because everything is better with wine
- Chicken stock - get a low sodium brand. You want to control the salt
- Worchestershire Sauce
- Fresh thyme and dried Bay leaves - for herbaceous flavor
- Vinegar, salt, and pepper
- Italian bread, fresh garlic cloves, and cheese - Swiss, Gruyere, Gouda, Havarti, or Asiago to make the yummy bread croutons.
- Fresh parsley as a garnish
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE
- Be sure to slice the onions in uniformly thin slices
- Take the time to fully caramelize the onions. You want a deep, dark color, but no bits of scorched onion. Scorched onion is what causes the bitter, acrid flavor.
- Use the wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This is where all the flavor is.
- Consider the stock that you’ll use. Be sure that it isn’t too salty. It should be very flavorful and not at all greasy. Homemade is best, but a storebought brand is just fine. Choose a quality brand.
FRENCH ONION SOUP
- 7-8 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used 4 yellow onions and 3 Vidalia)
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 8 cups good quality or homemade chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 4-6 slices of French, Italian, or Bagette bread
- 2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 pound grated cheese (I used Gruyere, Gouda, and Asiago)
- Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foaming. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened - about 10 minutes.
- Lower the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions take on a rich, golden brown color - 1-2 hours. Yes, hours.
- If the onions begin to get too dark, sprinkle in a bit of water or wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Add the garlic and shallots and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Cook until the alcohol is mostly evaporated - about 3 minutes.
- Pour in the stock, Worchestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Bring the pot to where it is almost boiling. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the vinegar. Taste to adjust for salt and pepper. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaves.
- Meanwhile, while the soup simmers, preheat the broiler and move the oven rack to the top position. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
- Rub a garlic half on both sides of each slice of bread.
- Butter each side of bread with the softened butter and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
- Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes per side until the bread is just beginning to brown. Be sure to watch and check on the slices often, as they will burn quickly.
- Ladle the soup into 4-6 ovenproof serving bowls.
- Top each bowl with 1 toast and mound a handful of grated cheese on top of the toast.
- Place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to turn golden.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley.
- Serve hot.