French Onion Soup
First things first, I need to apologize for the lack of posting these past few weeks. Work has been pretty hectic (I sort of got promoted to acting team lead-yay!), school is in finals mode (send help), and I just found out I have mono. Things are pretty peachy in my world, right? Anywho…
It’s starting to (finally) get cold outside, which means it’s time to turn your heat on, stock up on comfy socks, and make some cozy soups. Winter is the best season for comfort food: soups, stews, pasta, you name it. I mean—what’s better than sitting on your couch wrapped in a warm blanket with a glass of wine and a piping bowl of soup? It sounds heavenly. Especially if it’s below freezing temperatures and you have no intention of going outside. That weather is fast approaching so I want to arm your recipe arsenal with some cozy food favorites of mine. Today I’m sharing my personal favorite: French onion soup.
French onion soup is a classic soup that is hearty, satisfying, and is loaded with cheese. The cheese is a big seller for me personally. Cheese and the name. French cuisine is the penultimate culinary cuisine. This is a personal opinion do not bite my head off. But the French really nailed down this whole food thing. They add butter and garlic to basically everything and it tastes great. Not a Paula Dean level of butter, but just on the precipice.
I’ve been to Paris twice now (anxiously waiting for my third trip eventually) and yes the city is beautiful, but French food is divine. It really is an ethereal experience to enjoy French cuisine in France, but what to do when you are not in France? Make some quality French food at home, of course! The interesting thing about French food is that it seems technical and complicated, but in reality it is easy to replicate in the comfort of your own home.
I mean—how wonderful does it sound to transform your kitchen into a cozy French bistro with a simple recipe? Sounds pretty fantastical to me. I will say there are some ingredients that are a bit tricky to find in the United States, like a particular cheese, but for the most part you can replicate French classic dishes at home.
My mom used to make this recipe all the time when I was growing up and there’s magnificence in its simplicity. There are only a few ingredients in this recipe, but sometimes you don’t need to be complicated with your ingredients to make something great.
Some tips on making French Onion soup:
I recommend a deep and wide pot that can hold a significant amount of liquid. The depth of the pot helps the onions caramelize and the concentrated caramelization really gives the onions a chance to develop a complex flavor. I love my Le Creuset 6-Quart Pot, but you can use a dutch oven or a pot with a durable sturdy bottom as well.
Gruyere cheese and baguette are the classic toppings, but Gruyere cheese is an expensive cheese. If you need an alternative for Gruyere you can swap it out for Swiss cheese. Just make sure you finely grate it for optimal melty goodness.
Be patient. You want the onions to brown and look like caramel. It will take at least an hour for the onions to reach that peak caramel color
French Onion Soup
Servings: 4 bowls
4-5 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons brandy or Marsala wine
½ loaf French bread
2 cups Gruyere cheese, finely grated
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add in the sugar to help caramelize the onions.
Reduce the heat to low and continue to slowly cook the onions, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are deep brown in color. Stir in the flour and bring to a bubble and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Slowly pour in the stock, water, and the brandy. Add the bay leaf and bring to a simmer, allowing the flavors to develop, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Heat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Cut the bread into 4 thick slices and place on a baking sheet. Toast the bread in the oven, 6 minutes per side.
Turn on your broiler to high. Pour the finished soup into 4 heat-proof serving bowls. Place one piece of bread on top and cover with a handful of the grated cheese. Broil until the cheese is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.