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French Onion Soup Recipe

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French Onion Soup is a timeless and comforting dish that combines caramelized onions with a rich, savory broth, topped with toasted baguette slices and melted Gruyere cheese. This recipe is perfect for a cozy dinner or a special occasion. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making this delicious French Onion Soup.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more to brush toasts
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 lbs yellow onions, about 6 large onions, halved, peeled, and thinly sliced with the grain
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry wine (or use dry vermouth or dry white wine)
  • 8 cups beef stock (or broth)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (plus more to garnish) or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste), divided
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • 12 slices baguette
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese (1 1/2 cups shredded), divided

Instructions

Step 1: Caramelize the Onions

  1. Heat Oil and Butter:
    • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until melted.
  2. Cook the Onions:
    • Add the thinly sliced onions to the pot and stir to coat them in the oil and butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the onions start to soften.
  3. Add Sugar and Continue Cooking:
    • Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the onions. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes, or until the onions are deeply caramelized and golden brown. Adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning.

Step 2: Add Garlic and Wine

  1. Add Garlic:
    • Add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  2. Deglaze with Wine:
    • Pour in the dry sherry wine (or vermouth or white wine) and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Let the wine simmer until it has mostly evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Make the Broth

  1. Add Stock and Herbs:
    • Add the beef stock, bay leaf, and fresh thyme sprigs to the pot. Stir to combine.
  2. Season:
    • Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper to the pot. Stir to mix.
  3. Simmer:
    • Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4: Prepare the Toasts

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Brush Baguette Slices with Oil:
    • Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides with olive oil.
  3. Toast:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, turning once, until the slices are golden and crispy.

Step 5: Assemble and Serve

  1. Preheat the Broiler:
    • Preheat your oven’s broiler.
  2. Ladle Soup into Bowls:
    • Ladle the hot soup into oven-safe bowls, leaving some room at the top for the toasts and cheese.
  3. Top with Toasts and Cheese:
    • Place 1-2 toasted baguette slices on top of each bowl of soup. Sprinkle generously with shredded Gruyere cheese.
  4. Broil:
    • Place the bowls on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and slightly browned.
  5. Garnish and Serve:
    • Carefully remove the bowls from the oven and garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Onions: Caramelizing the onions slowly is key to developing the rich flavor of the soup. Be patient and cook them over medium to medium-low heat.
  • Cheese: Gruyere cheese is traditional, but you can also use Swiss cheese or a mix of Gruyere and Parmesan for a different flavor.

Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option:
    • Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth for a vegetarian version of the soup.
  • Herb Variations:
    • Experiment with other herbs like rosemary or bay leaves for a different flavor profile.
  • Cheese Topping:
    • For a more indulgent topping, add a mix of cheeses like Gruyere, mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I make French Onion Soup ahead of time?

Yes, French Onion Soup can be made ahead of time. Prepare the soup and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop before adding the toasts and cheese.

2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

3. Can I freeze French Onion Soup?

Yes, you can freeze French Onion Soup. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat before serving.

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4. What can I serve with French Onion Soup?

French Onion Soup is often served as a starter, but it can also be a main course. Pair it with a fresh green salad, crusty bread, or a sandwich for a complete meal.

5. Can I use different types of onions?

Yes, you can use a mix of yellow, white, and red onions for a more complex flavor profile.

The Comfort of French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a classic comfort food that brings warmth and satisfaction with every spoonful. The combination of caramelized onions, rich broth, and melted cheese creates a dish that is both hearty and delicious. This recipe is perfect for family dinners, gatherings, or anytime you crave a comforting and flavorful meal.

Tips for Success

  1. Caramelize the Onions Properly: Taking the time to caramelize the onions slowly is key to developing the rich flavor of the soup.
  2. Use High-Quality Broth: High-quality beef broth will enhance the overall flavor of the soup.
  3. Broil the Cheese: Broiling the cheese on top of the soup adds a delicious, bubbly crust that makes the dish even more indulgent.

French Onion Soup is a timeless and comforting dish that is perfect for any occasion. With its combination of caramelized onions, rich broth, and melted cheese, this soup is sure to be a hit with family and friends. Whether you’re making it for a cozy dinner or a special gathering, this recipe is simple to prepare and full of delicious flavors. Give this French Onion Soup recipe a try and enjoy a satisfying and hearty meal. Happy cooking!