To-Die-For French Onion Soup
Even your non-soup loving friends and family will drool over this delicious and filling dish
This is not your usual French Onion Soup recipe. It was originally created by Alton Brown, a complete genius when it comes to food, and it combines traditional beef consomme with chicken broth, white wine, and apple cider for an amazingly flavorful taste that is both sweet and hearty. The dish will elicit nothing but raves in your household. If, that is, you can hear the raves over all the slurping.
After making it a few times, I tweaked the original recipe a bit to suit my tastes and cooking style. If you would prefer to see the original, or are curious about my changes, you can find it below.
This is not a quick soup. You need to have about two hours free. You won't need to watch the soup the whole time, but you do need to check it at semi-regular intervals.
- 3 Tbsp salted butter
- 5 medium to large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 10 oz beef consumme
- 10 oz chicken broth
- 1-2 sprigs Fresh thyme
- 1-2 leaves fresh basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 loaf French or rustic bread
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. While the butter melts, tie the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and basil leaves together with kitchen twine to create a bouquet garni and set aside.
- Layer skillet with onion slices. You should have enough onions for about three layers. After each layer, sprinkle salt on the onions before adding the next layer. Let onions sweat for 15-20 minutes.
- Stir occasionally for 30-45 minutes, allowing the onions to caramelize. Cook until onions are deep brown and significantly reduced in size.
- Turn heat on high. Add white wine and simmer for 10-15 minutes, reducing the liquid.
- Stir in apple cider, chicken broth, and beef consume. Add the bouquet garni. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes.
- Slice bread in approximately one inch thick slices. Place slices on cookie sheet and broil for about a minute. Be careful not to overcook the slices. You want a crispy top, not darkly browned or burnt.
- Remove herb bundle and season soup with salt and black pepper. Then, ladle soup into oven safe bowls. Be careful not to overfill the bowls, you want about an inch of space between the surface of the soup and the top of the bowl.
- Place a bread slice in one bowl, on top of the soup, un-toasted side up. Then cover the bread and soup surface with the grated cheese. Repeat for each bowl. Place soup bowls in oven and broil 1-2 minutes, until the cheese turns golden and bubbles.
Don't stress about burning the onions when caramelizing! If they burn a little as they cook, don't worry. It won't much affect the taste of the soup. Under caramelized onions will affect the success of the onion soup far more.
if your grocery store is anything like mine, apple cider can be a little tricky to find if it isn't autumn. If you find yourself searching for cider, try looking in the organic or vegetarian section of your grocery. My grocery's organic section is pretty small, but there has always been cider there no matter the time of year.
If you can't find cider in your grocery, however, you can always order it online.
Although you can normally substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs in many recipes, I would advise against that for this recipe. The herbs are tied together with kitchen twine in a bouquet garni and removed after the soup has simmered.
You can tie the herbs together directly before you place them in the soup, but it is easier to simply have the bouquet garni prepared before you begin.
The soup bowls & skillet
This soup is first cooked in a large skillet, at least 10-12 inches, rather than a pot. It is not covered at any point, so you don't need to worry about having a lid for your skillet. After the soup is cooked, it is briefly placed under the broiler in the oven in individual bowls.
If you are unsure if your soup bowls are oven safe, you should err on the side of caution. Plastic bowls will not be safe for the oven, whereas ceramics will more likely be oven safe. If you aren't sure, don't assume. Look up the dish online or test it by filling it with water, putting it on a cookie sheet, and placing it under the broiler for a few minutes. Be warned, if it isn't oven safe, you will most likely ruin your dish.