Do you have a menu item you always gravitate towards? Or maybe you’re like me and have several…or many menu items that you gravitate towards.
When we go out for Mexican food, I always joke with Mr. Prevention about why he even wastes time looking at the menu…he always, and I do mean ALWAYS, orders the same thing – fajitas. Occasionally, he’ll venture away from chicken and order a steak, shrimp, and beef combo, but it’s rare. He’s usually good for a frozen margarita, too…but not *always*. Just, almost always.
When I see French Onion Soup on a menu…it’s hard for me to order something else. How can you resist caramelized onions cooked in a rich broth and topped with baguette and one of my most favorite cheeses – Gruyere? I certainly can’t. Heavenly. When the cheese-to-onion ratio is just right, it’s pure magic.
French Onion Soup is a popular selection at my work in the cafeteria. However, we purchase our soup from GFS. If I’m being honest, GFS does a great job with their freshly prepared soups, but there is simply no match for a homemade version and I’m glad I finally made a REAL version.
If you’ve never caramelized onions before, you want to be sure you’re not trying to do so in a hurry. Because no two pots or Dutch ovens are the same, cook times will vary, as will the need (or lack thereof) to stir the onions as they cook. The key, however, is to not over-stir and to cook slowly over a not-too-hot heat source. You want the onions to brown up and remain intact, enriching their sweet flavor as they simmer away.
While this soup doesn’t come together in minutes, the majority of the cook time is hands-off. And the results? Totally worth the wait!
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 8 cups sliced onion (about 3-4 large onions)
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- ½ cup brandy
- 6 cups low-sodium beef stock
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- 1 bay leaf
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 (1/2 oz) slice French baguette (about ½-inch thick)
- 1½ cups Gruyère Swiss cheese, shredded
- Cut onions in half, end to end. Lay the flat cut side on a flat surface and slice onions into ¼-inch half moons.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt butter and oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and stir once; allow to cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir and allow to cook for another 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium and cook 15 minutes or longer, until onions are browned and caramelized. Add a little water if they are sticking.
- Once onions are caramelized, add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Add brandy, stir, and cook to evaporate.
- Add beef stock, parsley (whole), thyme, tarragon, bay leaf, and pepper to taste. Cover loosely and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove parsley sprigs and bay leaf.
- Preheat broiler.
- Place oven proof bowls or crocks into a baking pan and divide soup between bowls. Top each bowl with 2 slices of baguette and ¼ cup shredded Gruyere. Place baking sheet and soup in oven and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbly (avoid burning).