French Onion Soup has always been related to high end restaurants in my mind. I mean they make onions look good. The smell of the onions as they simmer down just turns into something so appealing for my nose that it’s hard for me to resist something I would normally run (or cry) from. I realize now that it’s not necessarily all high end restaurants that carry French Onion Soup and that some of the best comes from the local mom and pop shop, but no matter who makes it my nose will seek it out.
I had never given French Onion soup a chance before because I always thought it would be hard or require a ton of extra ingredients. Not sure why or what or I was thinking there but let me tell you with a little bit of time, some basic spices and a pile of onions you will be set. Nothing fancy around here but by the time you are done it will look like that bowl of soup you pay $5 for at a restaurant. This recipe does make quite a bit though, however, French Onion soup freezes really well and is also a great base to crock pot a roast in.
The first part of cooking French Onion soup will bring tears to your eyes with how easy it really is but you have to slice up those onions and add them to the melted butter in your pan to caramelize. I do all of this in my big stock-pot so I don’t have to dirty up any more dishes, but to each their own and if you would like to caramelize your onions in your saute pan and then transfer to a stock pot that is fine. Remember I am all about less dishes though.
French Onion soup is easy to feed a crowd with by doubling or tripling this recipe, heck you could even octotuplet (making up words again here) for a huge party. I’m not sure that I would broil the cheese and croutons at that point but it would be easy to let them dish out as much as they liked. Smaller gatherings you could half this recipe pretty easy and have an intimate dinner for two with few leftovers.
The Cast For French Onion Soup
5 medium to large size sweet onions, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cans of beef broth 14.5 ounces
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1/4 – 1/2 cup white wine to de-glaze pan (or chicken broth, sherry, apple cider)
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup shredded Guyere cheese or 8 -10 slices of Swiss cheese
Directions For French Onion Soup
1. Melt butter in your stock-pan and add sliced sweet onions. I know that looks like a pile of onions at this point but they will caramelize down to a small pile. You need to cook your onions of medium to medium-high heat until they are browned but not burnt. Usually around 45 minutes to get good caramelized onions and this is the basis for a good French Onion Soup.
2. Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the caramelizing process to help get those onions good and brown.
3. Now that your onions have that beautiful brown color to them you need to add the 1/4 cup white wine to de-glaze the pan and get all those good pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan.
4. Add garlic powder, black pepper, bay leaf, beef broth and beef bouillon to your stock pot and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. I generally let simmer for an hour to really let the flavors meld together.
5. Taste test for the desired amount of salt, pepper and garlic at this point. Usually my broth has plenty of salt and I like to have a small kick of pepper but those are all personal flavor choices.
6. You can stop at this point you can pull out your bay leaf and discard. You will have a good soup that didn’t require a ton of work, or a delicious base to cook roast or beef tips in.
7. Pre-heat your broiler on high or your oven to 400 degrees.
8. Spoon prepared French Onion Soup (don’t forget to pull out the bay leaf) into oven safe bowls and top with 2-3 croutons and a slice of Guyere or Swiss cheese. Place your oven safe bowls on a cookie sheet and place under broiler or oven until your cheese is melted and bubbly.