I’ve only ever had French Onion Soup in those little packets from the supermarket and even then I’ve only ever had the dip you can make using those packets. It’s definitely a different (and much better) experience making the soup homemade versus opening the little packet and pouring the powder into a bowl. I love the contrasting flavors of the sweet onions, rich beef broth, and sharp cheese.
Making French Onion Soup is a relaxing process. It takes awhile, but is not very labor intensive and the smells that come from the kitchen are so nice. The super slow cooking works to meld the flavors and to give the broth a deep depth of flavor. It’s also super cheap- broken down the main ingredients are beef broth, onions, butter, baguette, and cheese. And to this basic recipe, you can do many different things. For example, I added a cinnamon stick to my soup as it simmered and the hints of cinnamon were fantastic. Red wine is also a staple ingredient. I didn’t have any on hand, so I just added more beef broth.
After doing lots of research to see what the most basic ingredients of French Onion Soup are, I decided to roughly follow a recipe from Epicurious.com. I only wanted to make enough for two people with a small amount of leftovers. To do this, I only used one onion and estimated the proper amounts for the remaining ingredients. This is the type of recipe where you can easily estimate needed ingredients. I’ll give the basic recipe I used and also give the link to the Epicurious recipe.
Serves 2 with one bowl of leftovers
1- Cut the onion. Cut in half, half the halfs, then half the quarters
2- Put 2 tbps flour in a ramekin or other bowl, set aside
3- Mince 1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic
4- Rinse a few sprigs of thyme
one large onion
3 tbs butter
1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 cups beef broth (Everything I read said the soup is best with homemade broth, but I used store bought reduced sodium organic)
1/2 cup water (see note)
a few sprigs thyme
Cheese (I used deli sliced Swiss)
Note: If you plan to use red wine, add that before you add the broth and omit the water.
1- Melt the butter in a Dutch Oven or heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Allow the butter to foam a little bit.
2- Add the onions and salt. Allow the onions to cook for 45 minutes or even more. Stir occasionally. Monitor the onions so they do not burn. You want them to turn a rich brown color. If any of the onions are becoming too dark, remove them and set aside for later.
3- Once onions are done, add the flour and stir to combine. Add the broth, water, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon stick. Allow to come to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for at least thirty minutes, but if you have the time, let it go for an hour. The flavors will come together that much more.
4- About 15 minutes before the soup is done simmering, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 slices of bread. Arrange on a piece of foil and toast. Turn the bread over once and allow it to completely dry out. This should take about 10 minutes.
5- Take the bread out and turn the broiler on. Put the soup in oven safe bowls and put the toast on top. Cover the toast with the cheese. Put the bowls on a baking sheet and place them in broiler. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and has a golden color. Serve immediately.
And, as promised, here is the recipe from which I based my recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/French-Onion-Soup-236714.