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French Onion Soup

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: French, Mediterranean
Keyword: onion
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet onions such as Vidalias, quartered, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 3 TBS Unsalted Butter
  • 2 lg cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup port wine or sherry, white wine, red wine, cognac etc
  • 4 cups homemade Beef, Chicken or Vegetable stock Substitute Good Quality store bought if necessary
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 - 4 Thyme sprigs
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette or other crusty bread
  • 8 oz shredded Gruyer or Emmentaler Cheese

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium low heat
  • Add the onions and stir to coat with butter
  • Cook the onions, stirring occasionally until they turn medium golden brown color. This could take between 45 - 90 minutes (see note), but don’t rush it
  • Once the onions are the proper color, deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup of port wine
  • Bring to a simmer and reduce by half
  • Add the stock, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil
  • Reduce to a simmer, and allow to simmer about 30 minutes
  • While the soup simmers, prepare the bread.
  • Heat your oven to 350F/180C
  • Cut the baguette into 1 inch thick slices
  • Coat lightly with oil or butter and arrange in one layer on a baking sheet.
  • Place in middle level of a oven for 15 to 20 minutes until firm and toasty and beginning to brown lightly
  • Remove from oven and set aside
  • Turn your oven’s broiler on to High
  • When the soup is ready, divide the soup into four oven proof soup crocks, bowls or ramekins
  • Place the soup bowls on a sheet pan
  • Float one or two pieces of toasted baguette on top of each bowl
  • Top each bowl with 2 oz of shredded cheese
  • Place soup bowls under broiler until cheese is melted, bubbling, and getting some brown spots, about 3 - 5 minute
  • Remove from the broiler and serve hot

Notes

Note: It is difficult to offer a precise time on how long it will take the onions to brown. There are a variety of factors that impact that. Each stove top heats slightly differently. Your medium low may not be the same as mine. The size and shape of your onions, and the pan you are cooking them in will be different. How fresh (wet) are the onions? The wetter, the longer the cooking time.
The point is not two situations are identical. There is no “cook to 165F” instruction you can measure with a tool. You have to use your eyes and your judgment, and really you can’t be wrong. The longer you cook the onions, the more complex the flavor. That said, when you’re happy with it, you can stop. There are no French Onion Soup Gendarmes coming for you if you like it a little less caramelized than someone else.
If you want to cook for only two, you can save the unused soup to heat again later for another meal. It also freezes well. Finally, if you want to, it would make an amazing base for another soup if you would like.