Paris Worthy French Onion Soup
When I was 19, I was fortunate enough to visit Paris, France for two weeks. While I was there I totally fell in love the city, and with French Onion Soup! It was the first night we got there when I tried it. We stopped at this little cafe and my dad suggested I try it. I'm glad I did. The moment I took that first spoonful, my eyes widened with surprise at how good it was. Then I just closed them in delight and savored the taste. Talk about being in heaven!
When I returned home every soup I tried tasted cheap, and was no where near as good. Some soups were even downright disgusting! I've made it a mission to find a soup that tastes as good as the one I had while in Paris. Now, almost 20 years later, I finally found a Paris worthy French Onion Soup. This recipe takes me back to that little cafe the first night in Paris. A recipe that just makes me close my eyes and savor the wonderful taste.
If you want the best flavor consider making the onions a day or two ahead of time. The onions will keep in the refrigerator for at least three days before you start on the rest of the soup.
Unfortunately this soup does takes a long time to make, but the end result is well worth it. Just schedule a few hours in your day for making this soup, whatever that day may be. Perhaps your day off, the weekend, whatever. You won't always have to be in the kitchen though. The onions need an hour to cook without having to tend to them, so you can leave and work on something else, like a squidoo lens for instance!
So are you ready to get started?
- French Onion Soup:
- 4 pounds yellow onions, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into slices.
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 2 cups Pacific beef broth
- 4 cups Swanson free range chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen twine
- Ground black pepper
- 1 Baguette
- Gruyere cheese
- To cook the onions preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and move the rack to the lower middle position. Grease a large dutch oven (at least 7 quarts) and add the butter and onions. Make sure to place the butter on the bottom first then the onions. Cook onions for an hour in the covered dutch oven. They will have reduced, but are not done yet. They need to be stirred around really good, and be sure to scrape the sides and bottom. Now cook the onions with the lid slightly ajar for another hour. Scrape the sides and bottom again and mix again very well when the hour's up. Continue to cook with the lid ajar for 30 to 45 minutes. By now the onions should be very soft and golden brown.
- This is the time to let the onions cool if you want to keep them in the refrigerator for a couple days. But if you want to continue on with out cooling the onions, just move the dutch oven onto a burner over medium high heat. Stir frequently and cook the onions even more. Continue to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot. Do this for 20 minutes or until the liquid evaporates (longer if you heat the onions from the fridge of course). Once the liquid evaporates, continue to stir for 6-8 minutes until the bottom of the pot is coated with a dark crust. If the onions brown too quickly just reduce the heat.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of water and repeat the stirring and scraping until the liquid evaporates again, and there is another dark crust on the bottom. This is called deglazing, and repeat this process two or three more times or until the onions are very dark brown, but not black.
- Instead of water, pour in the sherry and let the sherry evaporate just like the water, (about 5 minutes).
- Now it's time to make the soup! Pour in both the beef and chicken stocks, 2 cups of water, bay leaf, thyme, and salt for seasoning. Stir it around and be sure to get up the layers on the bottom that formed earlier during the deglazing process.
- Increase the heat until the soup starts to simmer, then reduce it to low and cover. Let simmer on low for 30 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, it's time to make the croutons. Just preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and slice the baguette into bite size pieces. Cook on a cookie sheet until golden brown, (about 10 minutes).
- When the 30 minutes are up, remove the herbs from the soup with a skimmer.
- Now for the final step; you'll need individual soup bowls and place them on a cookie sheet. Fill the bowls with 1-3/4 cup soup. Place the croutons over that. Next sprinkle or layer on some Gruyere cheese and place the soups into the broiler for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
This is what I use when I want to cook me up some soup. I just love this.
Much easier to use than a plastic spatula, and you won't have to worry about scratching the pan you use.
This is an excellent way to slice onions. Much faster too! And there's a food safety holder so you won't cut yourself.