Continuing with my comforting soup obsession, I bring you my classic french onion soup. Beyond the caramelized, cheesy goodness, this might be one of the cheapest meals to make. The most expensive part is the cheese and that’s only because I insist on the good gruyere. I also enjoy the challenge of using my knife skills, thinly slicing the onions…weeping.
Although french onion soup may one of the simplest meals to make, it does take time and love to make it right. This was one of Julia Child’s first recipes I fell in love with. Most recipes you read say to cook the onions about 30 minutes. Wrong. As Julia says, you should count on at least 2 hours from start to finish. Sprinkling some cheese on the bottom of the bowl and toasting the bread beforehand are other splendid secrets. Where I veer off, is adding garlic. I’m sorry, but I can’t help myself.
To get the onions deeply caramelized, without burning, can take over an hour, but it is well worth it. The onions continue to cook, simmering in wine, before finally adding the stock and herbs.
Though it’s time consuming, this is one of those perfect Sunday dishes to snuggle up with by the fire. Do you have french onion soup tips and secrets? I’d love to hear about them.
french onion soup
1 ½ lbs or about 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
1T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups stock, beef is the traditional, but I prefer vegetable
thyme bundle, about 5 thyme sprigs, tied together with twine
2 dried bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
loaf of ciabatta or baguette, sliced into 1/2“ thick rounds
gruyere, or other swiss cheese, grated
In a large, heavy bottomed pot melt the butter and add the oil, over low heat. Add the sliced onions and stir to cover with the butter and oil. Cover and let the onions soften, about 15 minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking, over low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are deeply caramelized, about 1 hour. Be careful during this step to not allow the onions to burn.
Add the garlic and salt. Stir and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Deglaze the pot with the wine, scrapping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine has reduced by half.
Add the stock, thyme bundle, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, turn oven on to 400°. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and cook until well toasted, about 10 minutes.
To finish the soup, remove the bay leaves and thyme bundle.Season with salt & pepper.
Using oven-safe soup bowls, sprinkle some cheese at the bottom of the bowl. Laddle in the soup and top with the toasted bread. Sprinkle on more cheese and bake in a 400° oven, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Bon appetit!