French onion soup is a classic for a reason: it is aromatic, savory, cheesy, and utterly irresistible. It is simple to prepare at home and requires only a few ingredients. You will need some grit to caramelize the onions, but the soup will be so delicious that your family will rave about it.
French Onion Soup
French onion soup or “soupe à l’oignon gratinée” is a traditional French soup consisting of caramelized onions, beef broth, and buttery bread.
What are shallots caramelized? Caramelized onions have been cooked long enough to caramelize the onions’ natural sugars. They are light brown, extremely sweet, and possess a robustly piquant taste. There is a distinct article dedicated to caramelizing onions.
Ingredients Of French Onion Soup
Here are the ingredients needed to prepare this delicious soup:
1. Onions: I utilized yellow onions, my preferred onions, for this soup. I don’t like using sweet onions (such as Vidalia) because they are too sugary.
2. Clarified butter: If available, clarified butter is the fat of preference for cooking onions. If not, I’ll use half butter and half olive or olive oil alone. I prefer not to use regular butter because it burns more quickly. Clarified butter does not burn as readily as regular butter and is simple to prepare at home.
3. Broth: After onions, the most essential ingredient in this soup is the broth. Traditionally, this recipe calls for beef bouillon. It is beautiful if you have a high-quality beef broth, but making your own can be time-consuming and costly, so most of us reach for beef broth from the store.
4. Wine: Use any dry white wine for the wine. This broth requires wine because it imparts flavor and acidity that balances the sweetness of the onions. However, not all of the alcohol will evaporate during preparation.
5. Brandy: It’s optional, and I wasn’t sure if I should add it to the soup, but after just one taste, I was convinced: it enhances the soup’s flavor. Also acceptable is cognac.
6. Thyme: You may use dried or fresh thyme. Taste is continually enhanced by freshness.
7. Fresh Garlic is used.
For The Topping:
Baguette, French bread, or any bread (even moldy bread is delicious!) that you have on hand.
1. Cheese: the best is Gruyere’s cheese, which is traditional for this soup – an incredibly flavorful cheese that lends tremendous flavor. Swiss cheese, Provolone, Appenzeller, Emmentaler, Comte, Fontana, Jarlsberg, and Raclette are alternatives to Gruyere. Here, you will find additional Gruyere cheese recipes.
Ingredients That Are Optional In French Onion Soup Recipes:
1. Flour: Many soup recipes call for flour to thicken the broth, which is not authentic. I attempted adding 1 tablespoon of flour to this recipe and did not like the results. The broth will be thickened by cheese and baguette regardless.
2. Worcestershire sauce: If using chicken broth, adding 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce to the soup is recommended to enhance its flavor.
3. Sugar: Some individuals add sugar to the shallots to accelerate caramelization. I avoid adding it because it makes scallions too sweet.
- Caramelize the onions by peeling, halving, and slicing them into 1/4-inch (7mm) segments. Warm the clarified butter or butter/olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed kettle. Mix the onions and 1 teaspoon of salt when the pan is heated. They will be caramelized, tender, and light brown after cooking for 45 to 50 minutes. Initially, you can agitate the onions occasionally, but as they darken, you must stir more frequently. Be sure to scrape the brown pieces from the bottom of the pot while stirring. Be cautious not to burn the onions; they will become bitter if overcooked. Whenever the onions appear to sear on the bottom, agitate them with a spatula or deglaze the pot with a small amount of water.
- Onions cannot be caramelized faster (without surrendering flavor or texture). They require a great deal of time to develop a rich flavor.
- However, you can only caramelize onions briefly, or they will become acrid.
- Salting the scallions at the start of cooking helps to soften them faster.
- It is the appearance of the shallots after 15 minutes of cooking.
- It is how they appear after thirty minutes.
- These shallots have been cooked for 45 minutes and are now finished.
- You should add Garlic and thyme to the saucepan. Prepare for 30 seconds.
- Cook the wine until three-quarters reduce its volume.
- Add broth to the mix. Stir to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 15 minutes (during this time, you can prepare the buttery bread; see below).
- Add the brandy to the mix. Stir the soup to a boil, then remove the container from the heat immediately. The chowder is seasoned with salt and pepper.
- On a baking sheet coated with a paper towel, arrange thick segments of baguette. 7 minutes at 425°F (220°C) or until golden brown.
- It would help if you toasted The bread to absorb the soup; otherwise, it will rapidly become mushy. If you have moldy bread, you can skip this stage and even use a few days-old baguettes for this recipe!
- Toast the baguette segments, sprinkle them with shredded cheese, and bake until heated for about 5 minutes.
- Prepare soup by scooping it into containers. Sprinkle the soup with some cheese, then add 1-2 baguette segments. Sprinkle thyme sprigs on top and enjoy!
Tips And Tricks
Utilize mild scallions. Not only do they taste incredible when caramelized, but they lack the typical “bite” of yellow or white onions. However, they have a higher water content, so that caramelization may take longer. But the flavor improves with age, so it’s a win-win situation!
Remember to add the secret ingredient: BRANDY! It imparts a fantastic profundity of flavor. I’ve heard you can use that white wine and sherry, but I haven’t tested them!
It’s all in the finishing touches. Toasted bread and cheese are added. While the soup was simmering, I sliced and toasted a baguette from my grocery store’s patisserie. I also prepared Gruyere cheese by shredding it. After the soup has finished simmering, spoon it into oven-safe crocks and top with baguette segments and cheese. In the oven, broil for a few minutes until liquefied!
If you don’t have oven-safe crocks, you can toast the baguette with the cheese and place it on top of each portion of soup!
Why French Onion Soup Can Taste Bad?
There are three primary reasons why French onion soup can have an unpleasant smell and flavor:
1. It’s too sweet: The caramelized onions are not complemented by acidic ingredients, so the dish is too sweet. This recipe provides acidity with dry white wine and cognac. If your soup is too sweet, add sherry vinegar, lemon juice, or white wine vinegar to reduce the flavor further.
2. It’s made with bad-quality broth: As stated in the Ingredients section, poultry broth is typically superior to beef broth when purchased from a grocery store. If using store-bought beef broth, ensure it tastes great; otherwise, chicken broth is preferable. The ideal would be a homemade, high-quality beef broth, but chicken/duck/goose broth is also an excellent alternative.
3. Burned onions: Burnt scallions result in a bitter soup. Be cautious not to burn the onions or cook them until they become too dark; you do not need to cook them to a dark brown color; golden brown or light brown is sufficient. The onions need time to caramelize; if you cook them at a greater temperature, they will burn/become too dark without caramelizing, a chemical reaction that requires time.
How To Store Leftover French Onion Soup?
You can refrigerate This broth for up to three or four days. It reheats wonderfully. You can also reheat your cheesy bread (preserved separately) in the oven until the cheese is soft and warm. Fresh cheese croutons taste the finest.
Also, you can freeze it for three months. You can also preserve caramelized onions to expedite the preparation of this soup the next time you make it.
What To Serve With French Onion Soup?
French Onion Soup is a versatile dish, whether served as an appetizer or a main course.
We enjoy serving it alongside pork chops baked in the oven or our family’s beloved meatloaf.
If French Onion Soup is the main course, serve it with a wedge salad or fruit platter!
The traditional French onion broth is not sweet. The caramelized shallots, beef broth, and cheese impart umami-rich and savory flavors to this Rambam. Sweetness may result from overcooking or adding sugar, but the authentic French version tends toward a balance of spicy and slightly sweet flavors, not a dessert-like sweetness.
Thank you for reading….