French onion soup is one of my absolute favorite soups of all time. The only obstacle to this dish is the mountain of onions you must slice, but it’s totally worth it (plus, I just wear my swimming goggles so I don’t cry, hahaha. It’s quite a sight). There are a million versions of French onion soup, and this is mine. First, I think it’s best made with some red wine and some Brandy. It makes for a really awesome flavor and aroma. Another really important part of the soup is to use a mixture of beef stock and beef broth. If you taste the two side by side, you will notice a huge difference in flavor. The beef stock has rich, full flavor, while the beef broth almost tastes like water. That beef stock is very important! Let’s make some French onion soup:
4 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 5 large onions)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine (recommended: Sherry)
1/3 cup Brandy liqueur
3 bay leaves
26 oz package beef stock (not broth)
32 oz package beef broth
20 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string (no dried, please)
sliced baguette, toasted
8 oz gruyere cheese
Place the sliced onions in a big pot and season with a couple big pinches of salt. Add the olive oil, and give it a stir to coat. Cover with a lid, then bring the heat to medium. Let the onions sweat for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, and let the onions cook for another hour, and be sure to stir every 5 minutes or so to make sure the onions aren’t burning. Yes, caramelizing the onions take a long time, but it’s worth it! Halfway through they will have reduced down and taken on some good color:
After a full hour, they look like this:
Once the onions are caramelized and brown, and have reduced down in volume, add the red wine and the brandy. Raise the heat to medium high and let the alcohol cook out by about half.
Add the bay leaves, beef stock, beef broth, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for 1 hour. If you’re curious, taste the soup every 15 minutes. Notice how much more flavorful it is after each 15 minutes that go by. If your soup reduces down too much, add water to restore the original consistency.
To serve, ladle the soup into ovenproof soup bowls. Float a few slices of toasted baguette on top, and add a handful of gruyere cheese. Broil the tops for a few minutes until the cheese gets bubbly and brown. Enjoy!