Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 4 hrs
This recipe is develops the deep sweet onion flavor by baking the onions to reduce them, then cooking the onions on the stove and deglazing the pan 3 times.... redundant yes, but worth the effort. SO GOOD!
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
- 6 large yellow onions, about 4 pounds, halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
- 1⁄2 cup dry sherry
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ground black pepper
- 1 small baguette, cut on a bias into 1/2 inch slices, toasted
- 6 ounces gruyere, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
- FOR THE SOUP: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray the inside of heavy bottomed large (at least 7 quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove pot from over and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and side of pot after 1 hour.
- Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reduce heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more time, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.
- TO SERVE: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 toasted bagette slices (do not overlap) and sprinkle evenly with gruyere. Broil until cheese is melted an bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
If this is the same exact recipe from The French Chef (I'm about to make it from the site), then it is THE BEST onion soup recipe I've ever had, homemade or restaurant. I'm using this site's version because I always used my mother's copy of The French Chef, and I don't have it handy on me. Most restaurant onion soups are too salty, sometimes to the point of being inedible, and I think they don't use or skimp on the wine, which gives it its rich, hearty flavor. One thing I've always done is substituted red wine (typically Marsala or Merlot), which gives it a dramatic, zesty edge. I'm also a sucker for using mozzarella cheese instead of swiss and parmesan. Since I now cook vegetarian, I'll be trying a non-beef beef substitute stock if I can find one here in Honolulu... if not, I'll just use veggie stock and add more wine!
Fabulous! I consider myself a connoisseur of French Onion Soup. I order it every where they serve it to rate it. This one is one of the best: "not too salty and the onions were not mushy." I'd add a few tblns of Cognac just before serving....
Yum! This is a little more work than usual (at least to me, lol) for a French Onion soup, but it is well worth the extra attention. The onions are caramelized wonderfully to a deep, rich brown color that makes them so sweet and tender. The sherry really adds a new flavor dimension to this broth too. Thanks MMinMI for a great dinner. Made for PAC Fall 2008.