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January 15, 2014

A Month of Soups: French Onion Soup

This week I'm continuing my "month of soup" series with French onion soup. As one of my daughters says, "this is the easiest thing ever!" Originally I combined two recipes and came up with this wonderful bowl of deliciousness.

French onion soup really is simple to make. Basically you cook the onions, then add the beef broth and seasonings and simmer. This soup is famous for the slice of French bread in each bowl, topped with melted swiss cheese.

Here are the how-to's:

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan.

Add two onions, thinly sliced. Sauté the onions on medium high heat. Cook until well-browned but be careful not to burn them. This will take about 30 minutes.

This is how they looked after ten minutes. I added a half teaspoon of sugar at this point to help them caramelize, but it is an optional step.

After twenty minutes, here's how they looked. They were beginning to brown, so I stirred them almost constantly to keep them from burning.

This is after thirty minutes.

When the onions are well-caramelized, add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute or two. Add the worchestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, spices (except the salt and pepper) and beef broth and stir. Simmer for another 30 minutes and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Place a slice of French bread in each bowl - I toast it first - and top with a slice of Gruyere or Swiss cheese, then ladle the soup into the bowl. The bread and cheese should rise to the top.

Most recipes will tell you to put the bowls under the broiler, but I don't have any bowls that will withstand that sort of heat, although I admit the soup is amazing when you can do that! So...

I let the hot soup and the toasted bread melt it for me. It does take a few minutes. Sometimes if my oven is warm from cooking something else, I'll set the bowls in the oven and hurry along the process a bit. The toast soaks up the soup, and combined with the melted cheese... Yum!

French Onion Soup

2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 quarts beef stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

sliced French bread
Gruyere or Swiss cheese, sliced

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and saute over medium high heat until well-caramelized, taking care to not let them burn. After ten minutes, add sugar to help them caramelize (optional). When well-browned, add the garlic and saute for an additional minute or two.

Add the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) and stir. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Place a slice of French bread and a slice of cheese in each bowl; ladle soup into bowls. Place bowls under broiler until cheese is melted.

I hope you'll give this a try!

A Month of Soups 2013:
Chicken and Mushroom Soup
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
French Onion Soup
Albondigas Soup

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  1. I keep a little torch in the kitchen for caramelizing would be great for using on the top of this to melt the cheese in. You can direct the heat away from the bowl so no worries there.

  2. That's a great idea. Where would I find one of these handy items?

  3. I also have a smallish blow torch, that I use for stuff like this & creme brulee lol - even toasting the occasional marshmallow. They are inexpensive, & easy to use. And you can pick them up at pretty much any hardware store worth its salt. Mine is kind of like a cap, that sits atop a can of propane.

    Being on a farm, out in the boonies, with high wounds & freezing temperatures, this is something worth having. It can help loosen stuck nuts & bolts, , open up frozen locks (like a frozen padlock) for tempering metals, etc.
    Ooh, how I love me some good gruyere...
    Good n bless & keep you!

  4. Thank you, Carla... ok, adding hardware store to my errand list... You've both convinced me this is a good thing to have around.

  5. Mmmmmm......I LOVE French Onion Soup. :) Looks delicious.

  6. Anonymous11:27 AM

    Pinned! Love soup.

  7. French onion is my favorite! Visiting from Tuesdays with a twist :)


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