french onion soup

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?

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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

Serves 6

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

Directions

  1. 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.

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3.  Cook uncovered over low heat until onions are very soft and the garlic has disintegrated, about 2 hours.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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8.  Serve hot, and with extra bread for dipping.

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