After the holidays, when the cold weather has really hit, we crave a warm soup for dinner more than ever. One of our favorite classic bistro soups is French Onion. For the longest time I loved French Onion soup at restaurants but never thought it was possible to make at home. However, I have found the best recipe and have shared it with everyone here at Europe2You! It is so easy and delicious you have to try it at home for these cold nights.
The most important thing for this French Onion soup is time. It is very important to let the onions caramelize slowly and also let the broth simmer for as long as possible. The soup has very simple ingredients that boast an amazing flavor.
The finishing touch on this soup is the cheesy toast on top. The cheese needs to melt into the soup making it even more satisfying. And the toast is a perfect garnish that will split into pieces to fit onto your spoon. To cut your baguette just perfectly use our Baguette Slicing Board for slicing ease.
2 1/2 pounds yellow onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 cups beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine, optional
1/4 cup brandy, optional
6 to 8 baguette slices, toasted
1 1/2 to 3 cups shredded Gruyere or Parmesan cheese (1/4 to 1/2 cup per serving)
Minced raw shallot or onion, to garnish
- Cut each onion top to bottom: Peel away the skin.
- Slice into half moons: Slice each half of the onion into thin, evenly-sized half moons.
- Cut the half moon slices in half: You will have at least 6 cups of chopped onions. But don't worry too much about quantities with this recipe.
- Melt the butter with the oil: Melt the butter in the pan set over medium-low heat.
- Add the onions: After the butter foams up and then settles down, add the onions and stir to coat with the butter.
- Cover and cook for 15 minutes: Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
- Season the onions: Remove the lid. The onions should have wilted down somewhat. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, a generous quantity of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar (this helps the onions caramelize).
- Cook the onions for 40 minutes to 1 hour: Turn the heat up to medium and cook, uncovered and stirring every few minutes, until the onions are deeply browned. Turn down the heat if the onions scorch or stick to the pan; the browning doesn't come through burning, but through slow, even caramelization.
- Heat the broth: As the onions approach a deep walnut color, heat the broth in a separate pot.
- Add the flour: Add 3 tablespoons flour to the caramelized onions and cook and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add broth and simmer for at least 1 hour: Add the hot broth to the caramelized onions and bring to a boil. If using wine, add this now too. Lower the heat and partially cover the pan. (If you want to add other aromatics such as herbs or spices, do so now.) Cook gently over low heat for at least 1 hour or until the broth is slightly reduced.
- Taste and season: Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Add a finishing splash of brandy, if desired!
- Top with toast and cheese: Heat the oven to 350°F. Divide the soup between small but deep oven-safe bowls. Top each with a slice (or two) of toasted baguette and sprinkle grated cheese in a thick layer over the bread and up to the edge of the bowl.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes: Place the bowls on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish. Bake until the cheese is thoroughly melted.