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Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 hrs
After quartering, slice the onions pole to pole for substantial slices that will hold up to long cooking. Beef bones are stocked in the freezer or meat section of supermarkets.
- 2 lbs beef bones (see note)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 large yellow onions, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 4 pounds)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup apple butter
- 3⁄4 cup dry sherry
- 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 1⁄2 cups gruyere cheese, shredded
- COOK ONIONS Arrange beef bones on paper towel-lined plate. Microwave until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, set slow cooker to high. Add butter, cover, and cook until melted. Add onions, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, brown sugar, and thyme. Stir flour, apple butter, sherry, and soy sauce together in small bowl until smooth. Pour over onions and toss to coat. Tuck bones under onions around edge of slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat until onions are softened and deep golden brown, 10 to 12 hours. (Cooked onions can be refrigerated in airtight container for 1 day.).
- 2. FINISH SOUP Remove bones from slow cooker. Heat chicken and beef broth in microwave until beginning to boil. Stir into slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper.
- 3. MAKE CROUTONS Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from broiler element) and heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bread slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake until bread is golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Heat broiler. Divide cheese evenly among croutons and broil until melted and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.
- 4. SERVE SOUP Ladle soup into bowls and top each with 2 croutons. Serve.
- **Most soup recipes start by chopping or mincing onions. For this recipe, we wanted slices that would retain their shape through 10 to 12 hours of gentle simmering. We found that cutting onions with the grain (rather than across it) yielded slices durable enough for the slow cooker.
I made this over the weekend, and HOLY COW this was good! The texture was about perfect, and although it was a bit sweet, it was perfectly rich and onion-y. I couldn't find Beef bones at the local grocery store, so I ended up searing some ox tails and adding them to the crock, and they worked out perfect. Although not traditional, I added the shredded ox tail back to the soup for a nice meaty touch. Give this recipe a shot, and can't get any easier.
This is an easy and tasty recipe. I've made it twice (since winter won't seem to leave the midwest). It has a velvety texture and smells wonderful while it's simmering. It doesn't have a predominately onion flavor that a traditionalist might expect. The sherry and apple butter are noticeable but quite tasty, I think. I'll definitely make this again and again.<br/><br/>One note: the first time I cooked this on high for 11 hrs. It really scorched the inside of my crock. Eventually I was able to get all the cooked on onion / sugar off. The second time I cooked it on low and added about 1/2 c water. I cooked it for 11 hrs. also. The taste wasn't quite as strong but the scorching didn't happen.<br/><br/>Also, I agree the nutrituional info seems to be wrong. I ran this through one of the online nutritional calculators (I didn't do the bread/cheese part since I'm avoiding carbs). I came up w/ 270 calories, 40 g carbs, and 8g fat.
This is sweeter than traditional french onion soup and the onions aren't as tender as they are in traditional versions. But that being said, traditional french onion soup is very time consuming to make. This is a snap and the flavor is really very good. Without the cheese croutons, the soup is very low in calories as well. (I'm pretty sure the nutritional facts listed for this recipe are wrong in any regard.)
I thought the soup needed a bit more salt, but I also used homemade stock, to which I add very little salt to begin with. I you are using prepared stock, it should be fine. I may reduce the apple butter to half a cup next time to offset some of the sweetness, but otherwise the recipe is very good.