Classic French Onion Soup
The first time I had French onion soup, I think Jason and I were dating maybe a little over a year. The reason why I never had it before was because I used to have an aversion to onions. I never liked them until college and even then, I couldn’t fathom drinking an entire soup made from onions. I know, it’s crazy. A food blogger that used to not like onions – how did I cook?! Well, I’d cook with them, I just would pick them out :) and of course, in French onion soup, you can’t really pick out the onions.
So by the time Jason and I went to this nice French restaurant for dinner, I had grown to love onions and couldn’t get enough of them. We each ordered a bowl of French onion soup (me having it for the first time) and I don’t think I’ve been so impressed with soup in my entire life. I loved the cheesy topping but what I loved most was the sweet caramelized onion flavor that perfumed the entire soup. It was so comforting. I still dream about that soup. We haven’t been back to that restaurant in a while but every time we pass it, I think of their incredible French onion soup.
I figured I’d give it a shot and make it at home. It was one of those weekends that was forecasted to be a brutal chill so I thought it’d be the perfect soup to have throughout the weekend.
I just loved cooking this. The sweet onion smell enveloped my entire house. It’s such a great scent!! I will say that making this soup is a labor of love because of how much time you invest in caramelizing the onions, but the taste it outstanding. If you’re in a rush and can’t dedicate two hours to this soup, then don’t make it. Rushing this won’t give you the results (and don’t be knocking at my door saying it doesn’t taste good!) so save it for another day if you’re in a hurry. Also, this is actually a little bit different than your typical French onion soup as it doesn’t have beef stock in it. It’s definitely not one bit missed in here. Don’t add it, you may compromise the entire soup if you change it up. Vegetarians and meat lovers can adore this soup together!
Hope everyone has a warm & relaxing weekend :)
Making this Classic French Onion Soup truly is a labor of love but it's so worth it for this comfort soup!
- 3 pounds yellow onions, cut into 1/8-inch pieces
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt, plus more if needed
- 1 pinch of sugar
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 8 cups of water
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 crusty baguette
- 8 ounces gruyere cheese
Melt butter in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and sugar and cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Take the cover off and cook, stirring frequently, the onions for 90 minutes. Yes, 90 minutes. You should achieve a golden brown color to the onions.
At this point, stir every 5 minutes and add a tbsp. of water at a time to loosen up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Continue doing this for another 30 minutes until the onions are even darker brown.
Add the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Add the 8 cups of water and thyme and bring to a boil. Then add the white wine then let simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt, to taste.
In the meantime, turn on the broiler in your oven and adjust the rack to the upper middle position. Slice your baguette into 3/4 inch thick slices.
Carefully broil the baguettes for 1-2 minutes on each side (or until they achieve a light brown crisp color - watch them carefully so they don't burn). Remove from oven and set aside.
At this point you can start ladling in your soup into oven-safe bowls. Place a slice of baguette on top and a large slice of gruyere cheese on top of the baguette slice. Place the bowls carefully into the oven under the broiler and broil until cheese has melted and is bubbly and slightly brown, about 5 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Be very careful with the bowl and make sure to not touch it while eating your soup!
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Source: Cook's Illustrated
Posted on February 22, 2013