This has to be my favorite soup. I could eat this whole batch! I'm not going to lie- this soup takes a long time to make. The onions need to cook down for about two hours and then I like to simmer the soup for at least another 30 minutes for the flavors to marry. I always hear Julia Child's voice in my head: "If you don't let it simmer and marry then all you have is onions and stock, not French Onion Soup." The end result is so worth it, believe me. Pretty healthy for you considering the small amount of cheese and bread that is involved and the rest is basically just onions and water! Oh yea and this is also a super cheap meal that feeds a lot!
It is pretty cold out today in NY so why not spend your Sunday cooking up this delicious soup for the family! or just yourself ;)
Couple notes here: The wine optional, but I like the depth of flavor red wine brings to the soup. You can use fresh stock but I always have bouillon cubes on hand (just taste before adding salt considering these are packed with sodium). The cube ratio I use is one cube to one cup of water. I like to use a combo of beef and chicken to make it a touch lighter, but tradionally it is all beef stock.
The classic cheese for FOS is Gruyere but I can never seem to find it, so I substitute Swiss which is just as good. I buy the 1 pound wedges of Jarlsberg Swiss so I just grate whatever I need- I love lots of cheese so grate to your preference.
- 5 large yellow onions, I like them sliced- but anyway you want to cut them is fine.
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 tsp of flour
- 1/2 cup of red or white wine (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (or a tsp of dried)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 beef boullion cubes
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- 6 cups of water
- Swiss cheese, grated
- french baguette, sliced
- In a large soup pot add the oil, butter, all the onions and salt. Cover and cook on low for 1-2 hours. I know this seems long but you HAVE to cook them really low or they will never caramelize correctly and you will just end up with burnt onions. I use a hair higher then my lowest flame setting. I just leave them alone and check every 30 minutes- checking more often towards the end. Here are pics at the beginning, one hour, one hour and a half, then 2 hours.
- Sprinkle the onions with the flour and let cook out for about 1 minute.
- Now deglaze with the wine if you are using.
- Then add everything else except for the cheese and bread. Bring to a boil then to a gentle simmer. I simmer for at least 30 more minutes but I have ranged from 10 minutes to 60 minutes before I ate, so I guess depends on how much patience you have. Remember longer the better though. If the liquid level gets too low, just add more water. Also remember to taste before serving.
- After the soup part is done- which by the way is very good on its own, but to make it even better we add cheese and bread.
- While your soup is simmering turn on your broiler.
- Toast your sliced baguette and grate your cheese.
- Careful handling the ramekins or bowls they are extremely hot! Safety first then stuff your face with this delicious soup!