I have attempted french onion soup 4 or 5 times. Every time I got a great soup but it was only after tasting and a lot of trial and error over the casserole. I have finally found what I consider the best, easy and fool-proof french onion soup recipe.
I have gotten several oohs and ahhhs with this soup and it always guarantees second and third helpings.
The recipe is hosted here and I have only made one change to the original recipe.
The secret to a good onion soup is to caramelize the onions well. Adding salt in the beginning is essential but I also add a teaspoon of brown sugar 10 minutes into the cooking of the onions. Good quality balsamic and organic broth is also essential ( better yet, make home made broth but organic is a good alternative).
I also use Italian Parmesan cheese if I do not have any Gruyere available.
Original recipe is for 4 people but I have found it to make adequate quantity for 7 -8.
French Onion Soup Recipe
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
- 1 (48 fluid ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 thick slices French or Italian bread
- 8 slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese slices, room temperature
- 1/2 cup shredded Asiago or mozzarella cheese, room temperature
- 4 pinches paprika
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in salt, red onions and sweet onions. Cook 35 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized and almost syrupy.
- Mix chicken broth, beef broth, red wine and Worcestershire sauce into pot. Bundle the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf with twine and place in pot. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the herbs. Reduce the heat to low, mix in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep over low heat to stay hot while you prepare the bread.
- Preheat oven broiler. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and broil 3 minutes, turning once, until well toasted on both sides. Remove from heat; do not turn off broiler.
- Arrange 4 large oven safe bowls or crocks on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill each bowl 2/3 full with hot soup. Top each bowl with 1 slice toasted bread, 2 slice Gruyere cheese and 1/4 of the Asiago or mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle a little bit of paprika over the top of each one.
- Broil 5 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. As it softens, the cheese will cascade over the sides of the crock and form a beautifully melted crusty seal. Serve immediately!
A few tips on Tearless Onion Chopping.
- Use a very sharp knife when cutting. You destroy fewer cells with a sharper blade, since the smaller blade edge touches (cutting) fewer cells.
- After cutting an onion in half, rinse each cut half under water, and run each slice under water if needed. This washes away the enzymes that produce the irritating gas, but may also wash away some of the flavor.
- Keep your face as far away as possible from the onion when chopping.
- Breath through your mouth rather than nose when chopping. You'll suck the gas in when inhaling but blow it away when exhaling. The gas is less likely to reach your eyes this way. ( Although I do tend to get a scratchy throat after doing this )
- Peel the onion and chill it in the refrigerator before slicing, or cook before slicing. Temperature affects the enzyme's ability to react.
- In the most extreme situations, wear goggles that completely cover your eyes.