I used to hate onions. I would pick them out of spaghetti sauce, and could never have imagined that I would love a soup who’s main ingredient was onion! Thank goodness my tastes matured and my love of cooking grew. The weather has been getting cooler, rain has been falling and it’s the perfect time of year for a soul warming soup!
Our meal plan for the night was sausages, perogies and vegetables. While shopping at Costco, the idea of french onion soup was put into my head and with the weather that day I couldn’t say no. The best part about this soup is that it is so easy and quick to make. Other soups I prefer to let simmer all day and have the flavours mix together, but this soup can be done in 30 minutes if needed.
I like looking at recipes and seeing which matches the results I’m seeking. Then I take that recipe and tweak it here and there, or completely disregard it to create something different that suits the idea I have in my head. I searched a couple recipes, found one I liked the most, then made the soup based on the flavours I wanted. Feel free to change the loose steps listed below to suit your flavours, or ask how it can be done.
Ingredients you will need: 6 Large yellow onions, 3-4 tbsp of butter, 1 head of garlic, 2 tbsp white sugar, 1/2-3/4c dry white wine, 8c beef stock, sage, thyme or bay leaves for seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. To top you will need 1 baguette, enough slices of Swiss, Emmental or Gruyere cheese for each soup bowl you’re serving.
Start by taking a large pot, 6 quarts should do. I love the heavy bottomed Lagostina pots we have. They help keep an even temperature which is great when needed to carmelize onions.
Slice 5 to 6 large yellow onions root to stem (top to bottom). Toss the sliced onions into the pot with 2-3 tbsps of butter. I add a bit of salt and pepper for flavour too. Turn the element to medium and let the onions start to cook. Stir the onions occasionally until they are reduced, soft and almost translucent. Sprinkle 2 tbsps of white sugar on the onions to help them carmelize and 1 tbsp of butter. Add a head of garlic finely diced ( I LOVE my garlic!). Stir the onions frequently so they carmelize, but don’t let the bottom burn. Once the onions are brown all over pour some dry, white wine in. I suggest 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. This will give the soup flavour and deglaze the pot. I used Inniskillen Chardonnay which paired wonderfully with the soup afterwards!
Pour in 2 containers of beef broth. I found 2 gave the perfect balance of broth to onion. Each carton is 900ml. If you prefer more broth, add a bit more, but not more than 3. I added more salt and pepper and some fresh sage from the garden. Let simmer for 10-15 min. Longer if you’re not in a rush. We had Cheer practice that night so my soup simmered for almost 3 hours!
Once the soup has simmered and is ready to serve, it’s time to finish plating it. Slice a baguette into 1/2″ thick slices. Depending on your size of bowl, you may need 1 slice or two to fill the top. Lay the slices out on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil over top. You can get different infused oils to add more flavour. Bake at 400F until the tops just start to brown. While the baguette is toasting, fill your soup bowls with the soup and prepare the Swiss, Emmental or Gruyere cheese slices. You can use the precut ones or slice your own. I like 2 slices layered over the baguette because more cheese is never a bad thing!
Once the baguettes are ready, lay them gently over the soup, then lay the cheese slices over the baguette. Place the bowls in the oven on broil until the cheese is melted and just bubbling. Remove from the oven, but becareful, the bowls will be hot! I like to serve the soup on a plate with a napkin so the bowl doesn’t slide and it gives me and edge to hold onto that isn’t hot. You can add a sprinkle of thyme to the top or leave on it’s own. Serve with a spoon and enjoy, but remember, the soup will be hot!
You’ll see in the pictures that I plated my soup bowls on a baking tray. This makes it so much easier to put in the oven and take out without making a mess! Line with foil if you really want a mess proof option.
I never use the whole batch of soup during dinner. French onion soup can be frozen to be enjoyed at a later dinner. Fill mason jars with cooled soup, leaving about 2″ from the top. Place the jars in the freezer with the lid OFF. This will allow the soup to expand and not break the jar. Once fully frozen, twist the lid on tight to seal and keep fresh until you’re ready to use. Once you are ready to serve again, let the jar defrost in the fridge overnight. Heat when ready and plate the same as before with the toasted baguette, cheese and broil.