I first fell in love with French Onion soup when I was enrolled in my cooking course as a senior in high school. We learned to cook dishes in large quantity, so I blame “commercial cooking and baking” for the reason I can’t make soup in small batches. Kids don’t usually like onions too much, but I found that cooking them for a very long time over low heat mellows their flavor and actually makes them sweet. I’m still not a huge fan of raw onion; depending on the application, but cooked I can’t get enough of them and I love this soup!
Throughout history onions were seen as food for poor people, as they were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of French Onion soup originates in France in the 18th century, made from beef broth, and caramelized onions. Although ancient in origin, the dish underwent a resurgence of popularity in the 1960s in the United States due to a greater interest in French cuisine. This soup is often finished by being placed under a grill in a ramekin with croutons and gruyère melted on top and is usually served as a starter. As I always tell you, soup tastes best when made with homemade beef stock; so use it if at all possible! I needed a refresher, so I researched and got the basic recipe for this soup from one of my favorite Food Network Chef’s Tyler Florence; and made mine with ingredients that I had on hand.
1/2 Cup Butter + 2 Tablespoons
8 Onions, sliced
2 – 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
2 or more Thyme Sprigs, fresh
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Red Wine, 1/2 Bottle that you like!
3 to 4 heaping Tablespoons Flour
2 Quarts Beef Stock
Beef Bullion, for more flavor if desired
Baguette or French Bread, sliced and toasted
Gruyere Cheese, grated
Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add half of the onions and cook until very soft and translucent; about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook an additional two minutes.
The onions should be somewhat caramelized when you add the fresh thyme.
Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.
Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.
Meanwhile, cook the second half of the onions over medium high heat in a little butter and olive oil. Don’t stir them too often or they won’t caramelize. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until soft and browned some.
Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
Add in the caramelized onion.
Season, to taste, with additional bouillon, salt and pepper.
When you’re ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer to toast.
Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere. Put the bowls into the oven and broil until bubbly and golden brown, three to five minutes.
Allow to sit for a moment as the soup and cheese will be very hot!
We used a wonderful Shiraz from my husbands own wine creations from Wandering Cellars! BillsWineWandering.com So delicious! Savory with a hint of sweet.
Dip in and Enjoy!