The trick to a great French onion soup is starting with good stock. French onion soup is usually made with beef stock. I’ve made delicious soup with stock from the leftover rib and chine bones of a rib roast. Another important element is the proper caramelization of the onions. Caramelizing onions take at least thirty minutes of slow cooking the onions over medium high heat. The browning, or caramelizing, of the onions brings out the sweetness in them.
French Onion Soup Recipe
- 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced root to stem (see How to Slice an Onion)
- Olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
- 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 8 slices of toasted French bread
- 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese
1 In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization.
2 Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.
3 To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.