There are a few recipes in my family that upon saying the title causes excessive drooling and fond memories- our french onion soup is one of them. When the leaves start to turn and the air turns crisp this is one of the first soups to hit our stoves. This recipe is incredibly easy, low pressure, and you can even make it ahead.
Here’s what you will need:
- A stick of salted butter (1/2 cup)
- 2 large sweet yellow onions (red won’t work here)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated. Use the fresh stuff or the squeeze tube kind, not the dried.
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 containers beef broth (64 oz total)
- A good melty cheese like swiss or gruyère (I prefer gruyère)
- A loaf of french bread (baguette works well here)
- Kosher salt to taste
Optional equipment that will make this process easier but isn’t required:
- A dutch oven
- A food processor
- Soup ramekins with a handle
Now let’s get started! I’m a big fan of getting everything ready ahead of time. Proper chefs will call this mise on place; I call it having your you know what together so you can cook and not be stressed out about it. Here’s what you need to do:
- Finely slice your onions! I mean it. Really fine. This will help the cooking time and make it so you don’t have giant chunks of onion in your soup. If you have a food processor, load your slicing disc on and slice away, if you don’t have a food processor that is totally fine, just use a good chef’s knife and take breaks if your eyes start to water. I promise this will all be worth it and this is the hardest part of the soup!
- On separate plates or containers, measure out the rest of your ingredients that will go into the soup. This way they are ready to go when you need them. Don’t worry about slicing the baguette or grating the cheese yet, you can do this later.
Starting the soup:
- Using your dutch oven or a big soup pot, get the pot hot. Once that’s done add your stick of butter and melt it.
- Once the butter is liquid now you want to add your finely sliced onions. I sprinkle them with a good dose of kosher salt- this helps dry out the onions faster for caramelization and imparts a good dose of flavor. You will have something that looks like this:
- Cook the onions on medium heat until they are slightly brown, stirring every 5 minutes so they don’t stick. This will take around 20 minutes, give or take a few.
- Sprinkle on the sugar. Stir the onions constantly until they turn brown and caramelly, this won’t take long! After that, quickly add your ginger and give it a good stir. You’ll end up with this:
- Now you can add your sherry. Cook this for 5 minutes, the alcohol will cook out by the end so don’t worry there.
- Next, sprinkle your flour evenly over the onions and cook this four one minute. This will help thicken the soup.
- Add your beef broth. Bring it to a boil. Stir constantly until you reach the boiling point.
- Once it’s boiled the work is basically done, you just have to let it simmer for 25 minutes. During this time you can slice your baguette and grate your cheese.
After the soup has finished simmering for 25 minutes, at this point if you wanted to pour into a large container and refrigerate it for another day this would be the time. When you go to serve reheat the soup on the stove and follow the instructions below.
- Grate your cheese!
- Slice your baguette!
Take however many oven safe bowls per people you have and load them on a baking tray. This will make putting them in the oven and taking them out a whole lot easier. Next, place a baguette in each bowl right at the bottom. Now, ladle your soup over the bread, the bread will probably float to the top unless you really have it wedged in there, either is okay! Add the cheese on top of the soup. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately but use caution, this will be HOT.
(Confession- I didn’t use any bread here. I thought I had some leftover and planned on using that but it had started to mold. Oh well! Still Tasty!)
And there you have it! Easy french onion soup. A classic fall favorite.