French Onion Soup Recipe
France boasts of many soups alongside a choice of sophisticated stocks and broths. Among these delicious soups of French origin is the popular French onion soup. This classic is popular in bistros and increasingly homey as well as appetizing. It’s the perfect example of a café dish and only requires a handful of ingredients for its prep. Also, French soup is budget-friendly as it won’t take much of your resources; however, it is time-consuming. It’s so bad that many people are of the opinion that the secret ingredient behind the perfect French onion soup is time! If you have only been sampling this soup at eateries, the time has come to try your hands at it. Best believe that the outcome will be a pleasant surprise. Continue reading to get the full details.
Ingredients for Your Quick French Onion Soup
You would need the following ingredients for six to eight servings.
- Yellow onions – 2 ½ pounds
- Butter (unsalted) – 3 tbsps
- Olive oil – 2 tsp
- Kosher salt – 2 tsp
- Pepper – Black pepper (freshly ground)
- Sugar – ½ tsp (granulated)
- Broth (can be low-sodium beef, vegetable, or chicken broth) – 8 cups
- All-purpose flour – 3 tbsps
- Dry white wine (optional) -½ cup
- Brandy (optional) – ¼ cup.
- Slices of toasted baguette – 6 to 8
- Parmesan or Gruyère cheese (shredded) – 1 ½ to 3 cups
- Onions or raw shallot (minced) – for garnishing
What Types of Onions are Used in French Onion Soup?
This write up would be incomplete without talking about the primary ingredient in French onion soup. Surprise, surprise, it’s the humble onion. According to popular belief, the type of onions used can affect the taste of the soup, nevertheless, people have their preferences. Based on all this, it is necessary to note that onions come in varieties and three of them are listed below:
- Yellow onions: Though it brings good flavor to the soup, it also has a tinge of bitterness.
- Red onions: These onions have a more aggressive flavor, but this is not accompanied by a lot of sweetness.
- Sweet onions: We have some sweet onions like Vidalia that brings a mild sweetness and flavor to the soup without any bitter aftertaste. This is the most popular choice.
What Cheese is Melted on French Onion Soup?
The best option when it comes to cheese for this soup is Gruyere. It is a mild Swiss cheese and is quite popular. Gruyere comes with a mild aroma and wastes no time when it comes to melting completely over bread… Or in this case, soup. However, the best cheese to use is not set in stone. People have even used cheese blends such as parmesan and mozzarella. So, feel free to experiment with some of the soft and melty options like Havarti, Brie or blue cheese crumbles.
How to Make French Onion Soup
Now, for the fun part, here’s how to prepare a classic French onion soup;
- Cut the onions into halves via the roots and peel off the skin.
- Slice the onions. It is preferable to slice them thinly into half-moons. You should be able to get six cups of the sliced onions or more, and since the recipe can always accommodate extra onions – just throw a few into the mix!
- With the oil, melt your butter – This can be accomplished by placing the oil and butter in a large deep sauté pan and keeping it on medium-low heat.
- Wait for the butter to foam up and settle before adding the onions stir them together.
- Cook the mix for a quarter of an hour, but first, you must lower the heat. Let it simmer at low heat, then proceed to cover the pan.
- Now it is time to start seasoning the onions. Once it has wilted down a bit, a generous amount of black pepper should go in. Soon after, proceed to season with salt and pepper. All these will aid in caramelizing the onions.
- Turn up the heat to medium and continue cooking for 40 minutes, you can equally choose to cook it for up to an hour. However, the pan must be uncovered as you cook, and the contents should be stirred frequently within few-minute intervals. Do this until you observe that the onions have turned deep brown. If you notice that the onions are scorching and sticking to the pot, then it is time to reduce the heat. The browning process needs to be accomplished through a slow and even caramelizing, not through burning.
- Upon observation that the onions are turning deep walnut, get another pot and proceed to heat your broth.
- The all-purpose flour goes into your caramelized onions, and cooking should continue for about a minute while you stir.
- Time to throw the broth into your waiting caramelized onions and allow it to simmer for an hour or more. If wine is on your ingredient list, now is the best time to add it. Cover the pot partially and also reduce the heat. At this point, any spices, herbs, or aromatic add-ins that you wish to include should go in. Cooking continues for the next hour, but the heat should be low enough to gently cook the soup until the quantity reduces slightly.
- At this point, have a taste to see if it needs more seasoning and add extra pepper and salt if necessary. You simply can’t go wrong with a final splash of brandy, if you so desire.
- Time for the toppings of cheese and toasts. A rack should be placed in the oven, right at the middle, and heated to 350°F. Get some small deep bowls that are oven safe, and scoop in some soup. Each of the bowls should be topped with one slice of your toasted baguette or two, and a thick layer of the grated cheese should be sprinkled over the bread. This needs to get as high as the edge of the bowl.
- Baking time can range from 20 to 30 minutes. The bowls can be placed inside a casserole dish, or on top of a baking sheet (rimmed). The cheese should melt completely as you bake.
- Now the time has come to turn up your oven, bringing it to the broil. Broil the soup until you see a brownish hue on the cheese while it bubbles. A minute of cook time is OK, but it can stay up to three minutes. Now, your homemade onion soup is ready, get it out of the oven, allow some cooling time, and then serve with some heatproof trivets or dishes. Serving can be done with shallot or freshly minced onions as well as some ground pepper. All this serves as a welcome contrast to the sweet mellow soup.