gray staub mini cocotte filled with french onion soup and topped with crusty bread and melted bubbly cheese and fresh thyme
Mains, Soups

French Onion Soup

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Who doesn’t love a steaming hot bowl of French onion soup smothered in bubbly, golden cheese on a crusty baguette? I seem to be using this word a lot lately, but this must actually be the COZIEST. It is the perfect meal for a snow day, and we actually had a white Christmas this year! Our house was a Winter wonderland this weekend and I’m still over here grinning ear to ear about it.

Tastes NOT Just Like Village Inn’s

Do you remember the first time you tried a bowl of French onion soup? That day definitely had an impact. It must have been circa 1994, and I was at the Village Inn Pizza Parlor in Hickory, NC. I have to believe this version is at least 10 times better than Village Inn’s, but even so, I loved it way back when. I fell in love with that melty gooey cheese and rich onion flavor. I would get a bowl every time we went, before I loaded up on the all you can eat pizza buffet. Maybe you had a fancier first encounter? ????

The Making Of French Onion Soup

Caramelizing Onions

Let me tell you upfront that this is a process, but that melty softness and rich flavor of deeply caramelized onions is 100% worth the effort if you have the time. The first time I made caramelized onions, I didn’t believe there was any way it would actually take me an hour, but it absolutely does. I would never make this soup on a weeknight, but I love to take my time on something like this on a Saturday or Sunday, and it makes the whole house smell incredible! Just turn up your music and take your time.

A Few Tips

  • Don’t turn the heat too high. The onions should cook on medium or even medium low depending on your burner. Remember, this is going to take some time. Low and slow.
  • Add a little brown sugar. This will speed up the process somewhat.
  • Stay close to the stove. Especially as more and more of the moisture from the onions evaporates. You have to stir more frequently the longer the onions cook to prevent burning and uneven browning.
  • Cook until you reach a dark brown color and the onions are sweet and melt in your mouth.

Vegetarian?

You can make this soup vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for beef stock. I haven’t tried it this way yet, but I’ve seen it in plenty of other recipes. If you happen to make the soup with vegetable stock, please keep me posted. I’d love to hear about how it turns out!

I hope you enjoy!

Check out some of my other soups:

Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Spicy Green Chili with Pork
Hearty Southwestern Vegetarian Chili

Print
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French Onion Soup


  • Author: Katelyn
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

The most flavorful French onion soup filled with rich, deep caramelized onions and simmered with fresh herbs. Top with lots of bubbly cheese on a crusty baguette for the coziest Winter soup.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 7 large yellow onions, halved and sliced about 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 2 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Topping

  • Crusty Baguette
  • Shredded Gruyere cheese or mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Add grapeseed oil and butter to a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot and heat over medium high until butter is melted. 
  2. Add the sliced onions, kosher salt, and brown sugar and stir to coat. 
    stainless steel bowl filled with sliced yellow onions
  3. Reduce heat to medium and stir about every 5 minutes until all the moisture evaporates from the onions.
  4. At this point, you will need to stir more frequently to prevent uneven caramelization or burning.
  5. Continue to stir and cook the onions for 45 minutes to an hour until you have achieved a nice dark brown caramelization. 
  6. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  7. Deglaze pan with sherry and balsamic vinegar being sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  8. Stir in flour and cook for about a minute, stirring continuously
  9. Add beef broth, fresh thyme, and bay leaf, and simmer for 20 minutes.
    dutch oven filled with caramelized onions and wooden spoon. Hand holding fresh thyme above.

Topping (see notes section if you don’t have cocottes)

  1. Ladle the soup into oven proof ramekins or cocottes, top each cocotte with a slice of crusty bread and shredded cheese.
  2. Place cocottes on baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese becomes golden and bubbly.

Notes

  • Getting truly caramelized onions is a process. It normally takes a full hour to achieve rich, dark brown caramelized onions.
  • If you don’t have oven proof cocottes or ramekins, just broil the cheese bread on a sheet pan by itself and add a slice to the top of a bowl of soup. 
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Simmered
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: onion, soup

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