I love French onion soup. When done right, it's deep, beefy, oniony, and rich. It can be as simple as some onions in broth or as complicated as ... well, as complicated as you like to make it. And it's so easy.
Cut your onions in half and peel off the outer layers. Then give each half a cut through the middle, down to the root. I don't like long pieces of onion hanging out of my mouth when I eat, so I quarter the onions to make them more bite-sized.
The sugar will help the onions caramelize faster.
Turn your heat on medium and let the stove do the work for you.
Some people say that adding the salt at the beginning actually helps the onions caramelize. That could be true. I don't have the devotion to test out which method is faster. So I just do it this way. If you want to salt at the beginning, go for it.
I used a loaf of bread I'd baked the day before.
This was a loaf made using the 5 Minutes a Day method. If you like warm bread with your meals but don't have a lot of time, I highly recommend checking it out! It doesn't (in my mind) replace traditional bread from a bread baker, but for warm, crusty bread on a weeknight it can't be beat.
You know, it's weird. I know that these croutons are like the kind you can buy in a bag in the store. But to me, those croutons belong on salad, and these croutons belong in soup. I don't think I could eat French onion soup with salad croutons on top. So please, please, give these croutons a try before you go the bagged route!
Now set 'em aside and get back to your onions.
So it's time to think about how you'll be flavoring your soup.
Many recipes call for sherry instead of the cider. We don't have sherry in the house, because, well, neither of us drinks sherry. Plus, if I use the cider, then I can drink what's leftover ;)
I've tried this recipe with beer as well. It's equally as delicious! Go for a lighter, sweeter beer, though.
First was the wor-chester-shire-y sauce.
I also added a bay leaf, which you can sort of see under the measuring spoon.
And who am I kidding. I want to eat soup now. I don't have time to wait for cheese to broil in the oven!
With a few homemade garlicky croutons and a little more cheese on top, you've got yourself a steaming bowl of French onion soup! Next time you're craving something warm and homey, give this recipe a try. Now that you know it can be so easy, you'll never want to order this soup in a restaurant again!
Recipe: French Onion Soup
5 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 box beef broth
1 can chicken broth
1/2 c. hard cider (or wine, sherry, beer, etc.)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
shredded Parmesan and Swiss cheeses, for serving
In a large pot, combine onions, garlic, butter, sugar, and pepper. Cook onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized (should take about 40 minutes.)
Add beef broth, chicken broth, hard cider, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, bay leaf, and dried thyme. Heat until soup is bubbling. Serve with shredded Parmesan and Swiss cheese and homemade croutons.
Recipe: Garlicky Croutons:
1 small loaf bread, cubed
olive oil, for drizzling
garlic powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
On a baking sheet, toss bread cubes with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Bake at 350F until completely toasted.