I'm not going to bore everyone with a long story about how my mother used to make this recipe from scratch, from the onions she grew in the garden, using beef broth from the cows she raised on her pasture. Because that would be a huge fabrication and who has time for all that when you came here to make soup!
The truth is, if I'm having a bad day, not only does French Onion Soup make me feel all warm and cozy on the inside, cooking for an extended period of time somehow relaxes me. So let's not draw this out as today was one of those stressful day.
To start you will need 5 medium to large onions. I prefer to mix with half sweet yellow onions and had red onions. You will also need roughly 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Begin by peeling and thin slicing (approx 1/4 inch thick) your onions. In a large stock pot, melt your butter over medium-low heat then add your onions. Toss the sliced onions to coat them with the melted butter. Let cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. While cooking I like to sprinkle with about a teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper corn.
If you make the recipe as is and you aren't cutting it in half, it will take almost an hour to caramelize them completely. After the 30 minute mark, check to make sure the onions aren't drying out. Some people will add more butter if they get dry but I prefer to add regular tap water in, about 2 tablespoons at a time to help prevent them from drying out too much. *Note* You can also omit the butter all together and only use water for a much healthier version. I'll add that to the bottom.
Continue cooking the onions for another 25-30 minutes or until desired tenderness is acquired. Mine looked something like this.
Next bump the heat up to medium-high and add 2/3 cups of Sherry cooking wine, 5 cups of beef broth, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of Thyme and I also add a clove of minced garlic but that isn't the "Classic" version. So if you like garlic... add that too.
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat as needed. Simmer for 35 minutes uncovered. When there's about 15 minutes left on the timer preheat oven to 375. Slice pieces of french baguette and grate Gruyere cheese then set aside. When soup is finished cooking, test for saltiness. I personally don't like a lot of salt but this could be bland for many people. If it is, add 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring well until desired taste is achieved.
Then remove the bay leaf and carefully ladle the soup into oven safe bowls or crocks. Place one to two pieces of the sliced baguette directly onto your soup then sprinkle the cheese on top. I like to place a cookie sheet on the rack below in case of spillage. Place under broiler or in preheated oven until cheese has melted. Remove and let cool for a few minute then serve!
5 medium to large yellow onions
5 tbs butter
1 tbs thyme
1 Bay leaf
2/3 cups Sherry Cooking Wine
5 cups beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 french baguette
*Cooks Notes: You can omit almost all oil/fat from this recipe and just lightly coat the pan so your onions don't stick. Then in place add 2 tablespoons of water each time the onions dry out. This happens a lot faster than if using butter so keep a close eye on them so they do not burn!
Peel the onion, cut in half then Slice the onions into 1/4 inch .
Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium/low heat, Add the onions and mix to coat the onions with the melted butter.
Stir the onions every 30 minutes, checking to make sure they don't get over dried. Add a couple tablespoons of water if they do.
Add the wine, beef, bay leaves and thyme. Simmer uncovered for another 35 minutes.
About 15 minutes before the soup is done, preheat your broiler to low or oven to 375 degrees.
Slice your baguette into 1/4 inch pieces and shred your cheese.
Once soup is finished, remove the bay leaves then ladle the hot soup into oven safe bowls or crocks.
Place a couple pieces of slices baguette on top of your soup then sprinkle with cheese. Place a cookie sheet on a lower rack in the oven and the crocks above in case it bubbles over. Bake or broil until the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!
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