French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup…a classic in its own right and one of my favorites. You will find this soup on most restaurant menus and I for one order it no matter where I’m dining. French Onion soup is rich with caramelized onions, simmered in a combination of beef and chicken broth, seasoned with herbs. This fabulous soup is topped with toasted bread croutons sprinkled with the nutty flavor of Gruyere cheese. Once soup is ladled into your choice of serving bowls, bowls are placed under the broiler until cheese becomes bubbly, golden brown. Sounds like heaven to me… Who doesn’t like cheese on anything?
My French Onion Soup was adapted from a recipe I found years ago. Once I make a recipe, making it over and over as originally written never happens for me. I’m always looking for ways to make it my own, however, still paying tribute to the original. Like in this French Onion soup recipe, I add more beef broth than chicken broth for a richer flavor. My Mom was very good at adapting recipes to her families tastes. I’d say she taught me well. Thanks Mom!
My Mom made soups year around and I never get tired of a good soup. When cold weather comes around, all the more reason for heart-warming recipes like French Onion Soup. This soup is not a quick recipe but well worth the effort in making this classic.
So, when the weather is cold and blustery and you’ve got time to spend in your kitchen, try this French Onion Soup. Your “tummy” and family will thank you. This soup is Mmm…Mmm…good!!!
Do you have a favorite French Onion Soup recipe? Have you made French Onion Soup before? Share your story…
French Onion Soup
3 1/2 to 4 pounds yellow onions, sliced from stem to root, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 T. butter, divided
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
2 c. water, plus additional for deglazing
1/2 c. dry Sherry
2 c. chicken broth
4 c. beef broth
3/4 t. dried thyme or 6 sprigs fresh thyme (tie fresh thyme together with kitchen twine)
1 bay leaf (2 if small)
1/2 t. salt
1 small french baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 c. (8 oz.) shredded Gruyere cheese
Set oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. To reduce sticking, spray the inside of large Dutch oven (7 qt.) generously with nonstick oil spray (Pam). Add onions, butter, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Cover Dutch oven and cook onions for 1 hour. Onions will reduce as they become moist. Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping down sides and bottom of pot. Return pot to oven leaving the lid slightly open. Continue to cook onions until very soft and beginning to turn golden brown. This should take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remember to stir onions after about 1 hour.
Remove pot from oven and cook stove-top on medium high heat. Cook and stir onions frequently until liquid evaporates and the onions turn brown. Reduce your heat if onions begin to brown too quickly. This will take approximately 20 minutes. Continue to cook onions another 8 minutes as pot will begin to form a dark crust. Adjust your heat if necessary to keep from burning onions. Scrape browned bits in pot along with back of spoon. Stir in 1/2 cup water and loosen crust, cook for another 8 minutes until water evaporates and another layer of brown crust has formed. Repeat this deglazing process another two to three times until onions turn very dark brown in color but not burned. Stir in dry sherry, cook, stirring frequently until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups water, chicken broth, beef broth, thyme, bay leaf and 1/2 t. salt to pot, scraping up the last browned bits from sides and bottom of pot. Increase heat and bring pot to high simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove tied thyme and bay leaf. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
While soup is simmering, place baguette slices for bread croutons on cookie sheet. Place under broiler until golden brown, flip and repeat on other side. Remove from oven; leave broiler on.
To serve, ladle soup in oven/broiler safe bowls, top with bread croutons and sprinkle tops with a generous amount of Gruyere cheese. Place bowls on cookie sheet. Broil until cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and let stand for several minutes before serving.