It was a wet and stormy weekend so we stayed close to home for the most part (did I mention that we live upstairs from an Irish bar?). We made a comfort dish we’ve never made before: french onion soup.
Be forewarned, this is NOT a dish you should cook if you are short on time. It’s a long process if you want the soup to taste just right, so reserve this recipe for weekends or vacation days. It’s also not a dish you want to make if you want to go out afterwards. You will smell like soup and people will look at you funny.
Ingredients: It’s an affordable dish to make, so if you’re throwing a dinner party you can put on this on the menu. Just wash your hair before guests arrive. I was going to use the Smitten Kitchen recipe, but it proved much too complicated for me so I just used it as a guide and improvised.
- 6 ramekins or oven proof bowls
- 4-5 onions (you’ll have to caramelize your onions in batches unless you have a HUGE dutch oven)
- olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of dry white wine (we bought the cheap stuff from Costco, nothing fancy here)
- 1 baguette
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 1 -2 bay leaf/leaves
- 2-3 sprigs of thyme, dried thyme will work too
- salt and pepper
- Better than Bouillon beef base (optional, but it’s my secret ingredient)
- 2 teaspoons of flour
- 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
- Cheese: Swiss and Gruyere (1/2 cup grated or sliced, doesn’t matter, add more or less depending on preference)
- Slice all your onions. We have a 3 qt. dutch oven and I caramelized our onions in 2 batches and combined them when they were all caramelized.
- Drizzle olive oil in your dutch oven, and put it on low to medium (around 3). Put in onions, thyme, bay leaf, a pinch of salt (go easy) and some pepper. Toss for about 5 minutes. Add in a teaspoon of brown sugar. It will help with the process.
- Cover your onions with a lid. Turn down the heat to low. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and stir every 10 minutes. Do this for your second batch of onions, if needed.
- Pre-heat oven to 325 in the meantime.
- You can start prepping your bread and cheese while the onions caramelize.
- When the onions are done caramelizing, put in 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir. You don’t want the garlic to burn. Add in 2 teaspoons of flour to thicken. Stir on low heat for about a minute.
- Time for wine! Add in 1 cup of white wine. Bring to boil. Drink the rest of the wine in the bottle.
- By now, the smell is intoxicating. Add in beef broth. Add in water. Add in a spoonful of Better than Beef bouillon. This is the secret ingredient and will give it a developed flavor. It won’t taste like much right now, but that’s why you need to let it cook down and reduce.
- Turn down heat to medium-low. Let it simmer for 30 minutes. If you find it too salty, just add more water.
- Cut your baguette into cubes or at a bias. Drizzle with olive oil and pepper. Put in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until brown. Once you finish this step, turn your oven over to broil.
- Spoon soup into oven-proof ramekins. Add in cheese. Top with bread. Add more cheese on top. Put ramekins on a baking tray and place the entire tray into the oven.
- Cheese is broiling. Watch the oven. This takes less than a minute.
- After removing the ramekins from the oven, let them cool for a good 2-3 minutes.
Serves: 6, but you’ll want seconds
Time: 1.5 hours
*If you have leftovers or not enough ramekins, you can just keep the soup in some containers. Don’t add bread or cheese. The flavors will develop, and second-day french onion soup is even better. You might have to dilute it with some more water or beef broth if the flavor is too intense.
*You can make a gluten-free version of this soup if you omit the bread and 2 teaspoons of flour. It’s just as delicious with some gluten-free crackers. You can also substitute the flour with quinoa flour, but you really don’t need to.