French Onion Soup

This could be the late twenties talking, but there is nothing I love more than a cozy night. As much as I cannot wait for snowboarding, there is something nice about having that in-betweenish period where it gets dark at 5 and it’s socially acceptable to live under your couch blanket. And the cold, wet, and dark weather is great because it gives you the perfect chance to snuggle up with someone you love! Ahhh snuggling. My favourite.

To make a cold winter night even more cozy, you need soup – right? And what’s better than cheese? And bread? I mean you all know how much I love cheese and bread so French Onion soup is basically the ultimate soup for me. It literally combines 4 of my favourite things – red wine, onions, cheese, and bread. The onions get all sweet and soft and caramel-y…mmm! But for me, it’s really all about that melted cheese and soft toasted bread on top.

Oh, and you can easily make this vegetarian by swapping out the beef broth with veggie broth. Now I know you’re supposed to make your own beef broth, but yea I didn’t – I just made sure that I spiced it really well – and a nice splash of red wine really helps to deepen the store bought broth. This soup is literally onions cooked in broth. Easy peasy.

Almost half way through!

Now as delicious, cheap and easy as this soup is – this is not a whip up a half hour before dinner kinda soup. It does take some time to make the soup, mostly because of the onions. You really need to caramelize those guys. Not to mention it took me forever to cut the onions as I had to keep taking breaks from my onion tears. Does anyone have any tricks that actually work? Because I did the match thing, the candle thing…I even wore my sunglasses! But I ended up just taking mini breaks to sip wine, so it was fine. Once you get the onions going and coated in butter, oil, salt & pepper, you cover them to let them sweat and soften a bit. Then it’s the long part – I took about 40-45 minutes to caramelize the onions over medium-low heat. I forgot to take a picture of them right before I put in the broth – but they should be deep brown, soft and sweet. They’ll really cook down, and that’s good! After a splash of red wine, the broth and some spices – it’s good to let simmer.

Then comes the best part – top that baby with baguette and slap some cheese on ‘er and melt away! I used the traditional Gruyere, and I added some Parmesan because I can’t help myself. But you can also use Mozzarella, Gouda or Swiss! It’s melted cheese, so I honestly don’t think you can wrong.

This makes a lot of soup – so you’ll have yummy leftovers. You can also freeze this soup (sans the bread and cheese obviously).

French Onion Soup is the tastiest excuse for a cozy night in with your favourite person!

French Onion Soup

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 1 1/2 lbs yellow onions peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp ap flour
  • 1 tbsp butter 
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 8 slices french baguette
  • 2 cups gruyere shredded (or another cheese of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Start by caramelizing the onions. In a large pot or dutch oven, add the olive oil and 3 tbsp of butter. Cook on medium heat to melt butter. Add the onions and toss to coat them in the oil/butter mixture. Add a dash of salt & pepper for flavour. Cover your pot and let cook on medium for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and transparent.

After the 20 minutes, add in the sugar. Continue cooking the onions for around 40 – 45 minutes more, and stir them once in a while, but not constantly. You know the onions are good to go when they are a deep golden brown and deliciously sweet and soft!

Once you’ve hit that delicious point add the flour, and 1 tbsp of butter. Stir to make a roux. This will thicken and add some richness to the soup. Cook your roux with the onions for about 2-3 minutes to remove that floury taste.

Add the 1 cup of red wine to the pot and stir to deglaze your pan, picking up all the brown bits of oniony goodness on the bottom of the pot. I find a good wooden spoon is the best utensil for this.

When your pan is deglazed, add the broth and herbs. I like to keep the thyme whole so that I can easily pick it out after! But feel free to chop it if you like. The bay leaves are just left whole! Adjust the seasoning with more salt & pepper, if needed.

Let simmer uncovered, for 30-40 minutes on low, letting all those flavours mingle!

Preheat oven to your broiler setting.

Scoop a ladle or two of the soup into oven safe bowls. Top with a piece or two of baguette, and a handful of the shredded cheese.

Place your bowls of soup (on a tray for easy transporting!) into your broiler – every broiler is a bit different – it may take anywhere from 2-5 minutes for your cheese to melt and brown – so keep an eye on it! It’s ready when the cheese is bubbling! Remember to watch it closely! Serve the soup by placing the now incredibly hot bowls on hot mats on your table – safety first! Enjoy with a glass of wine and some extra bread for dipping!

Note: While I prefer individual servings, if you don’t have oven proof bowls, or if you’re serving a crowd and you know all the soup will be gone at once you can simply put all the bread and cheese directly onto the pot of soup and broil the whole pot. Alternatively, you can also toast the bread with the cheese on it separately, and then add the cheesy toast on top of the bowl of soup.

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