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World's Best French Onion Soup Recipe
Hearty and Comforting French Onion Soup
Few things are as satisfying as a warm bowl of homemade French onion soup.
This recipe is one I use all the time. Though the instructions may seem long, you'll see that it's really a simple recipe. Follow my directions exactly, and you'll be eating one of the best soups ever.
Here are all the details.
This recipe makes a large pot of soup. Since it takes a while to make, I like to have leftovers for lunches, and for putting into the freezer for later. Details for freezing the soup are at the end of this article.
6 large onions, sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary (if using dried, use 2 teaspoons)
2 tbsp. minced fresh thyme (if using dried, use 1 teaspoon)
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 jalapeno, minced (optional -- we like a little spice; if you don't, then omit)
2/3 cup red wine
3 tbsp. vinegar (or to taste)
8 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
How To Make French Onion Soup
Into a large pot, put 4 tbsp. olive oil, then the onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sugar, jalapeno (if using) and salt. Place on LOW heat, and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
Cook on low until the onions have become a dark caramel color. This will take upwards of two hours. I know that you'll be tempted to increase the heat to medium to speed up the process... but DON'T.
Here's why: when onions are cooked slowly, they create an incredibly rich and deep level of flavor that simply can't be created by cooking them quickly. In fact, onions cooked quickly will take on a slightly bitter taste that you can't mask with wine and stock.
If the onions are sticking to the pan, add a little more olive oil (and you probably should lower your heat even more. I put my gas stove at the lowest it will go.)
I like to make French onion soup in the fall or winter, and usually begin making it in the late afternoon. This gives me plenty of time to let those onions become perfect. It's worth the time, plus your house will fill with aromas so mouthwatering you won't be able to stand it.
As the onions begin to brown, then you'll need to stir them more often.
Now You Add the Liquids
Add 5 cups of chicken stock, preferably homemade.
Add the vinegar, red wine, soy sauce and 2 cups of water. Stir gently, cover and let the soup simmer for about a half hour.
Taste for seasoning. It may need additional salt, and a little more freshly-ground black pepper. I also play with the amounts of vinegar and sugar (in equal amounts.) Sometimes I only need to add one tablespoon of each; other times I've added as much as three tablespoons each. I wish I could tell you the difference from one time to another, but I can't. The goal? Make it taste good.
Ladle into warmed soup bowls, and serve with grated Parmesan, or Gruyere (the usual cheese for this dish) on top.
Yeah, the traditional way to serve French Onion Soup is with toasted bread in the bowl, and Gruyere cheese covering the top and the whole thing run under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. However... I've never cared for the gloppiness of the cheese when it's served like this, and prefer the ease of grating cheese on top and serving it with hot French bread, or with crackers.
How To Freeze Leftover Soup
I have to admit... there are many times that there just isn't enough soup left to freeze.
It's just too good, and the flavor improves as the soup ages a day or two. This probably explains why I love having it as a lunch in the days following the day I make it.
However, when I do have leftovers, I put them into quart freezer bags that I've labeled -- include a date, too. Clear a place in your freezer where you can lay the bags flat. Once they're frozen flat, they'll store much easier, and won't take up so much room.
(This is the voice of experience -- one time I tossed the bags of soup willy-nilly into the freezer, and ended up with with oddly-shaped bags that took up more room than was necessary.)
You'll want to enjoy the frozen French Onion Soup within about six months.