If you like onions, then you have to be a French onion soup fan. A rich, sweet, flavorful onion laden soup with floating croutons and lots of melted cheese. You can’t beat a good French onion soup and I have a good one for you.
What turns good French onion soup into really good French onion soup is the caramelization of the onions, cooking the onions until they are golden and sweet. There is no need to add sugar if you let the onions develop their natural sweetness and this takes time, about 45 minutes to an hour.
There are many famous French onion soup recipes out there, Julia Child’s being the most famous and a variety of different alcohols are used, from Cognac to white wine. My choice is dry sherry. The sherry pairs so well with the sweetness of the onions and you don’t taste the alcohol at all because there is not a strong presence to begin with like there is with Cognac and wine. Also, please use good beef stock. I make my own, recipe here, but a good store bought one like Kitchen Basics that is not too salty is also good.
Now I want to talk croutons. For me, there’s nothing more frustrating when eating French onion soup is the 1 large crouton floating in the soup. All I do is end up chasing the large crouton around the bowl and finally using my fingers (while trying not to burn them). I know it’s traditional, but I want a crunchy toasted, cheese smothered crouton in every bite! My solution to this culinary dilemma is top the soup with lots of small croutons. That way, there’s a crouton in every bite. Then there’s the unfortunate situation of being left with soup and no croutons, no problem. There’s always a side of toasty cheese goodness next to my soup bowl. Crunch, cheese, soup, crunch, cheese, soup, you with me?
- 4 tablespoons / 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 large sweet yellow onions sliced thin
- 1 loaf of crusty bread of your choice baguette or ciabatta
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 6 cups good beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups gruyere cheese 8 ounces
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- To a large soup pan or dutch oven, melt the butter and oil over medium heat.
- Add the onions and stir to mix into the butter and oil.
- Cook the onions until softened and are browned, stirring every 10 minutes for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Cut the bread loaf into cubes.
- Spread onto a baking sheet and drizzle with vegetable oil, mix with your hands to coat well.
- Toast the croutons in the oven for 10 until golden brown, remove and allow to cool.
- Stir in the salt, pepper and sage into the onions. Add the sherry and scrape the pan to deglaze and get all the brown bits off the bottom. Cook until the sherry is almost evaporated, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the flour.
- Add the beef stock, bay leaf and and stir.
- Bring to a simmer and cover for 25 minutes.
- Preheat broiler.
- Spoon the soup into oven proof bowls, top with croutons and grated gruyere.
- Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.