There is beauty in the complex and elaborate, and there is beauty in simplicity. French Onion soup is an excellent example of a simple and classic soup that maintains its place as a wintertime staple. Onions, broth, and a little wine….and you’ve got something tremendous…..and so simple, there’s barely a recipe to follow.
- 3 Pounds Yellow, or White Onions sliced thinly
- We don’t recommend using red onions, or anything labeled “sweet” onions. You do you, but the long caramelization process can turn a “sweet” onion too sweet. Reduce your waste, and make sure to save your onion trimmings in your Get Cheffy stock freezer bag.
- 4 Cups (32oz Beef Broth)
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Half-stick)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 Cups Dry White Wine (optional)
- Baguette and Cheese (optional)
FOR THE SOUP:
- Begin by browning your onions. As the foundation for the soup’s flavor, this step will generally take an hour or two of careful monitoring. Melt your butter in a dutch oven, or large stock pot. Once melted, add your sliced onions, and one teaspoon of table salt. Stir to combine, keep your heat on low, to medium low, and allow the onions to soften and sweat for 10-15 minutes. Salt will react with the cut surfaces of a vegetable and begin to draw out liquid. After 10-15 minutes over medium/low heat, stir your onions, and check the bottom of your stock pot for browning. You may only see the slightest beginnings of caramelization at this stage. Keeping your heat on low, continue to sweat, and stir your onions every 10-15 minutes. After about 30-45 minutes of cooking, your onions should have taken on a light brown color. Add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of your white wine, or water, and stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Don’t ever allow the bottom of the pan to burn, as you’ll have to discard the onions, and start over. If your onions are moving too quickly, add more wine, or water, and stir to re-distribute the moisture in the stockpot. Repeat this process of adding water/wine, and stirring your onions to re-distribute the moisture in the stockpot every 10-15 minute. As your stockpot continues to reduce, your onions will caramelize quicker, so shorten the time intervals between stirring as you near the finish.
- After 1-2 hours of caramelization, your onions should have developed a dark brown color and a soft texture. At this stage, you can add any remaining wine to your stock pot. Add your 32oz of beef broth and your two bay leaves, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture up to a simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove, and discard, the bay leaves and serve. This soup is traditionally served with croutons and cheese. To create the famous “french onion gratiné”, toast baguette slices on a sheet pan until dried (350 degrees for 10-15 minutes), and then add up to 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to your toasted bread; continue to brown until your cheese has melted into the bread. Top each portion of soup with this “gratiné” and serve.
GET CHEFFY TIP!– There isn’t much one can do to improve this soup. However, adding black pepper, soy, Worcestershire, or red pepper flakes to the pot before adding your beef broth in Step #2, can bring additional flavors, spice, and heat. Don’t bother messing with this one too much; a classic never dies.