French onion soup. Just the name sounds fancy – It’s French after all. I love French onion soup but I hate paying for it in a restaurant.
A while back I decided to scour Pinterest, where else, for the ultimate recipe. I scoured. I scoured some more. I was confused – I assumed by the price you pay, it was an intricate recipe. That didn’t make sense if I was reading the recipes right. Caramelize onions, add beef broth, some spices, some wine and simmer. Could it be that easy? Really?
It really is that easy. There are a few tricks I learned but the process is simple. You can scale it up or down depending on your needs. Since we eat a lot of soup and it’s a great lunch, I usually make a healthy pot.
Some things to know:
- When you’re caramelizing the onions, don’t add salt right away. It draws the water out of the onions and makes it take longer to caramelize. Add a bit of brown sugar when the onions are starting to get soft and turn brown.
- It brings out the sweetness in the onions and really helps them brown well.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan with onions. While it’s tempting to try to do this all in one batch, it actually is a bigger pain and takes longer. It is also much easier to burn the onions. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
- I use a touch of dehydrated garlic and shallot to bump the sweetness. I buy mine here and here.
- I also like shallot pepper seasoning for a hint of herbs. Mister uses this on EVERYTHING but tarragon isn’t my favorite so I use it sparingly. It really gives a nice flavor to the soup, though. I used 1/2 tsp.
- 3 lbs yellow cooking onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tbs butter, divided
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
- 2 Tbs salt, divided
- 8 cups beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 3 bouillon cubes
Melt half the butter in a large frying pan over medium low heat. Add half the onions. Let cook slowly stirring occasionally.
After approximately 15 minutes, you’ll see the onions start to get some brown color. When they look like this, sprinkle 1 Tbs salt on them.
Keep stirring and browning. When the look like the picture below, sprinkle half the sugar over the top.
Keep cooking until all the onions are brown and extremely soft. They’ll look like the picture below.
Dump the onions in a stock pot. Add the beef broth and turn on low.
Repeat the process of caramelizing the onion with the other half of everything.
Once the onions are all in the pot, add the wine, water, bouillon, and any other seasonings you’re using. Simmer 20 minutes (or longer).
You could use a crock pot instead of simmering this on the stove. It’ll just be a little longer of a process but would taste equally delightful.
You can top with croutons and cheese – if you do, broil the cheese until it gets bubbly and brown. Delish!
Be sure to share this soup – you’ll have a lot of friends you never knew you had!