French Onion Soup
This French Onion Soup is delicious and pretty simple to make. I am not sure how restaurants botch up French Onion Soup. In fact, this French Onion Soup is so yummy that I made it with every intention of blogging it but ended up eating it for lunch instead. Haha. Oops!
Making French Onion Soup is easy but a bit more time consuming than some soup recipes. The step that takes the longest is carmelizing the onions. That is a step that I think is often rushed resulting in onions that are a little more, shall we say, carcinogenic, than carmelized….
While there are many strategies for carmelizing onions, I do it pretty simply. I use my sealed cast iron Staub pot and place it on the stove top with some olive oil and butter nearby. I use salted butter and also add salt to the onions. Use a variety of onions if you have them. Ideally, I would mix sweet onions, yellow onions and shallots or whatever combination of those I happen to have on hand. If I am shopping anyways, I would make an effort to buy a mix.
I slice the onions across the grain into rings. I slice them thinly but not see through. About 1/8″.
Once I have my onions sliced, I melt the butter in the sauce pan. You don’t want the butter to get too hot and brown. Once it is melted, add the onions and stir to coat with butter. I add a little bit of sea salt at this point. I think it takes at least 45 minutes to properly carmelize onions so patience is key! It doesn’t take a ton of attention but you do need to stir occasionally so they don’t burn.
Once the onions are carmelized, I add cooking sherry and red wine to the onions along with Worchestershire sauce, fish sauce and cider vinegar and a generous dose of fresh coarsely ground pepper. Sorry, I neglected to take a picture of the onions alone once they were carmelized but I will try to add one so you can see what carmelized onions look like.
I must admit, the fish sauce concept came from a blog I follow. See the Serious Eats French Onion Soup Recipe here. I agree with them that it doesn’t add any fishy flavour but it does add some complexity to the broth which is a great call. Thanks for the tip Serious Eats! Cook those flavours down for about ten minutes before adding broth. I use whatever broth I have except fish… never fish broth in French Onion Soup. My preference is beef broth but I will use chicken or vegetable if that is all I have on hand. If you are keeping this vegetarian, just use veggie broth. I also add dried parsley and a bay leaf or two.
Let that simmer for 15 to 20 minutes then taste the broth. Correct the seasonings to your liking. If it is too tangy, you can add a little bit of sweetness to balance it out. Likewise, correct for salt and pepper. If the flavours aren’t rich yet, simmer a little longer. Once you are happy with the flavour of the onion broth, it is time for the grand finale!
Take your oven proof soup bowls, and yes, you actually need oven proof soup bowls. If you don’t have them, you can buy them from the link on the right hand side of the page. You can use them for making French Onion Soup or for individual casseroles, like Macaroni and Cheese! You can follow my Macaroni and Cheese Muffin Recipe and then cook it in the oven proof bowls instead of a muffin tin!
Anyways, back to my French Onion Soup Recipe. I like to use a piece of sourdough bread cut to fit my bowl as my crostini (aka edible cheese tray). Toast it a bit in the oven so it stands up to the broth better. I put my crostini in the bottom of the bowl and then ladle the onion broth on top of it.
Add some grated gruyere cheese on top of the crostini. I put my bowls on a cookie sheet so they are easier to put in and out of the oven. Place the cookie sheet with the soup bowls on it in your oven to broil until the cheese is all melty and delicious looking.
Pull out the cookie sheet and serve the bowls on plates to protect your table or counter tops! Be careful you don’t touch the bowl, it is hot!
Enjoy and let me know what you think!
French Onion Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 1/2 lbs onions mixed, sliced
- 3 tbsp butter salted
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup cooking sherry
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp worchestershire
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp black pepper fresh cracked
- 6 cups beef broth
- 2 slices french bread
- 4 ounces gruyere cheese finely grated
- 1 tbsp dried parsley plus more to garnish
- 2 bay leaves dried
Use a large heavy bottomed pot. I use my Staub dutch oven.
Place pot over medium heat and add oil and butter. Heat until the butter is melted and then add the onions and stir to coat. Turn burner to low and put a lid on the pot.
Cook, stirring occasionally until onion are a deep caramel colour which will take between 45 minutes and an hour. If your burner is on low and it seems like the onions are burning, you can slow it down to promote carmelization by adding a little bit of water.
Once the onions are carmelized, add the sherry, red wine, worchestershire, fish sauce, cider vinegar and pepper to the onions. Let that simmer for about ten minutes and then add the broth. Let that simmer for another 15 minutes and then taste the broth. The longer you let it simmer, the better it will get (unless you boil off all your broth of course). Correct your seasonings for your taste. You may need to add salt, pepper or a little sugar.
Once you are happy with the flavour of the broth, assemble your ovenproof bowls. Toast the french toast under a broiler before placing in the bottom of the bowl.
Next, finely grate some gruyere cheese in to a bowl.
Then, ladle the broth into the bowl over top of the toasted french bread. Add the grated cheese on top and place in the oven on broil until the cheese has melted.
Remove from the oven and garnish with dried parsley. Serve immediately.