Monday, August 17, 2009

Onion Soup

When my sister (aka Auntie Takeout) offered to bring French Onion Soup to a family dinner, the first reaction was "oh what do we do". Not exactly a culinary genious (to put it mildly), AT is known for her skills at warming things up while she reads the side of the box. To her credit, we all agree that when you want something fixed, she's the go to person. Plumbing, painting, carpentry - you name it, she's always the first one there with a viable - not so much.

Well - I will never sell her short again. It's really not that she doesn't know how, but rather she has absolutely no interest in cooking. She was pretty impressive actually - scanned the internet, visited some food blogs and found "The Best Onion Soup (evah" at Cookography

The Best French Onion Soup

Serves 6


For the best flavour, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
  • 6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Make sure you get Yellow)
  • Table salt
  • 2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (They recommend Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth )
  • 2 cups beef broth (They recommend Pacific Beef Broth)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Ground black pepper

Cheese Croutons

  • 1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)


For the soup:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Generously spray the inside of a heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with a nonstick cooking spray. Place the butter in the pot and add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, for 1 hour (the onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring the onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.
  3. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the heat to medium if the onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with a dark crust, roughly 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.)
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping the pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broths, 2 cups of water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot.
  6. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.

For the croutons:

  1. While the soup simmers, arrange the baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

To serve:

  1. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Verdict: Really really flavourful and when served in a ramekin doesn't take away from the meal (we all know that onion soup can be a full meal all on its own)


Amy said...

Onion soup has always been one of those dishes that I love and order if I'm in a restaurant, but I never seem to make it at home.

I'm going to save this one for the colder months and try it finally. I'm feeling ambitious.

Steph said...

I've only ever had French onion soup at restaurants. I bet yours tastes much better!

Heather S-G said...

Funny!!! But yes, it looks oh-so-delicious :P I could gobble (slurp, I mean. Well, no...gobble and slurp) it up right now!

Bunny said...

Oh my word that looks good! I mean really good!! We sell french onion soup at the restaurant but it doesn't look like that!!

theUngourmet said...

It's always nice to have a handy woman close by!

Yum! I just love onion soup with the crouton and cheese on top!

V.Streit said...

mmmmmm. Someone had made french onion soup with amaretto once. Oh my that was so good.

DessertObsessed said...

omg lovelovelove onion soup! and oooh cheese croutons!!

Adam said...

French Onion soup is one of my faves, especially low calorie wise if I watch the cheese :) I'm glad Auntie joined the dark side a bit... step by step :)

grace said...

classic. that's a delightful bowl of soup, giz, no question.

kat said...

Have to remember this one as Matt adores French Onion Soup

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This dish is such a classic it is hard to ignore. "When it is good it is very very good and when it is bad it is horrid".

Elle said...

Love love onion soup! And your photo is so pretty--makes me want to dig right in.

shambo said...

I love onion soup too. Can hardly wait for cooler weather. Can't possibly even think about hot soup right now, but winter... you bet!

Daziano said...

Onion soup, YUM! And the recipe doesn't look complicated at all.

Dragon said...

The cheese croutons are adorable! Yum!

FOODalogue said...

Love your little family anecdotes and pet names for each other. Sounds like a happy family.

Fifi Flowers said...

That looks soooo good!!! PERFECT for a cold winter's day!!! Must keep recipe!

Karine said...

When I was a kid, I could eat so much French Onion Soup! It is just so yummy and cheesy!

You sister seems to have done a great job with hers :)

That Girl said...

I LOVE French onion soup - probably because of the cheese! And I love to make it at home because it makes the house smell so good.

Anonymous said...

Ok, looks totally totally yummy!!!!!

New York Giant said...

love onion soup! and oooh cheese croutons!!

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