French Onion Soup

I’ve been dreaming of this soup for over a year, and I’m not sure why I waited so long to try making it. It was surprisingly easier than I thought and just as delicious as the bowl I had in Paris. Maybe even better. I’m thinking this would be beautiful for a winter dinner party. Anyone feel like hosting? I’ll bring the first course!

french onion soup

French Onion Soup
via smitten kitchen

1 1/2 pounds (about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar (helps the onions to brown)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef or other brown stock (for a vegetarian variation, try mushroom stock)
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth (I used a bit of each)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)

To finish [Gratinée]
1 tablespoon grated raw onion (optional)
1 to 2 cups grated Swiss (I used only Gruyere) or a mixture of Swiss and Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
12 to 16 1-inch thick rounds French bread, toasted until hard

Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown. (** Or, if you’re not into all that stirring time, you can use my new favorite way – in the oven! After the first 15 minutes on the stove, stir the onions well and place your pot into a 400-degree oven for 1 hour. Keep the pot covered, but crack the lid a little so that the onions brown. Stir once halfway through).
After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed. Correct seasonings if needed but go easy on the salt as the cheese will add a bit more saltiness and I often accidentally overdo it. Stir in the cognac, if using.

For the graitinée:
Preheat oven to 325. Arrange six ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bring the soup back to a boil and divide among six bowls. To each bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon grated raw onion (if using) and a tablespoon of grated cheese. Stir to combine. Dab your croutons with a tiny bit of butter and float a few on top of your soup bowls, attempting to cover it. Mound grated cheese on top of it; how much you use will be up to you. Bake soups on tray for 20 minutes, then preheat broiler. Finish for a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top lightly. Grab pot holders, and serve immediately.

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