There’s something about dreary weather and French onion soup that go hand in hand for me. It’s one of those things I often order in a restaurant, but for some reason never make at home. Until now.
I clearly have a preoccupation with French onion soup, because upon looking through my recipe collection, I had at least five different versions tucked away for later use. This recipe is a combination of three. The reason why I think it works is because of the combo of sweet onions and shallots. The shallots add a depth of flavor that I didn’t find in the other recipes I tested.
It’s simple and inexpensive to make. Plus, who doesn’t love French onion soup?
My kitchen notes
The longer you can sauté the onions, the better. They impart much more sweetness and give more depth to the soup the longer they sauté.
I tend to let this soup simmer for hours and hours. If you do the same, consider having an extra 4 cups of beef stock on hand to add when the liquid evaporates.
French Onion Soup
2 pounds sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 2 large onions)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 to 10 shallots, thinly sliced
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 bay leaf
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
8 cups beef broth (plus extra if you end up simmering the soup for longer)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large baguette, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
8 ounces Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced or grated
- In a heavy pot, add 3 tablespoons butter and heat over low heat.
2. Once butter is melted, add onions, shallots, thyme, garlic, bay leaf and season with salt.
3. Cook uncovered over low heat until onions are very soft and the garlic has disintegrated, about 2 hours.
4. Add beef broth and season with black pepper. Increase heat to medium, cover and continue to cook for an additional 2 to 3 hours. Adjust heat so soup is simmering.
5. Remove bay leaf and thyme springs from soup before serving.
6. About 30 minutes before serving, adjust the oven rack to the top portion and preheat the oven to 425°. On an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, arrange 8 to 12 bread slices in a single layer and toast in the preheated oven until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside and increase the oven temperature to the low broil setting.
7. On the baking sheet, place 4 to 6 oven safe bowls and fill each to the rim with soup. Top with 1 or 2 slices of toasted bread and layer with the sliced or grated Gruyère cheese, completely covering the bread. Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
8. Serve hot, and with extra bread for dipping.