Article By: Joshua Houghton
Contributing Writer

French Onion Soup Recipe
Serves 6

Step into the timeless realm of French onion soup, a culinary classic that graces the
menus of countless restaurants. This rendition offers a delightful twist, skillfully weaving throughflavors while maintaining a touch of lightness. Whether you seek a comforting weeknight mealor an impressive dinner option, this soup promises a captivating experience that willundoubtedly beckon you back for more.

– Medium sized stock pot or dutch oven (at least 6 qt)
– Wooden or large metal spoon for stirring
– Cutting board
– Kitchen Knife of choice
– Ladle
– Baking Sheet
– Box Grater
– Measuring Cup/ Spoons
– Heavy duty bowls or crocks for serving
– Kitchen Torch, or broiler
– 5 Large Sweet Onions ( Like Vidalia )
– 2 Cloves Garlic
– 4 oz Canola Oil
– 1⁄4 stick butter
– 2 qts rich chicken stock
– 8 oz Brown Ale
– Salt TT
– 8 sprigs Fresh Thyme
– 4 Slice thick Brioche Bread
– Italian Seasoning
– 12 oz Gruyere Cheese

Let’s embark on the first and most crucial step—the art of caramelizing onions. Patience and
precision are the keys to achieving a proper, deep browning, a pivotal element for the rich color and flavor that defines an exceptional French onion soup. Begin by halving the onions from root to tip. Peel away the outer layers, and with the cut side down, delicately slice thin strips on theopposite side of the root. This method encourages the onions to release their natural juices,expediting the browning process. Also let’s take a moment to finely mince your garlic.
With the onions all sliced, set your pot over medium heat, adding 2 tablespoons of canola oil before introducing the onions. Dedicate a generous 30 minutes to coaxing out the rich flavors; as they begin to brown, incorporate the minced garlic and stir at regular intervals. Should fond accumulate at the pot’s bottom—those flavorful bits from searing or cooking—be vigilant in scraping and incorporating it into the onions before it risks burning. Fond holds a treasure trove of flavor, a culinary secret weapon that should never go to waste.

Deciding how deeply you want your onions caramelized is a personal choice, but embracing a
darker hue will elevate the flavor and sweetness of your final soup. Once you’ve achieved the desired onion color, and likely encountered more fond at the pan’s bottom, it’s time to deglaze with the robust notes of Brown Ale. Originating from my days in a local craft brewery’s kitchen, I crafted this recipe by infusing their beer into the culinary tapestry. Opting for a brown ale instead of the customary sherry for deglazing, I found it imparted a unique flavor profile. Whether it’s a Guinness or another local brown ale of your preference, the choice is yours. Introduce chicken stock and let it simmer for a gratifying 20 minutes, a twist on tradition that keeps the soup
lighter, complementing the beer infusion.While this simmers to perfection, turn your attention to preparing the croutons and cheese. I prefer slicing the bread into 1-inch cubes, then spreading them on a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until they achieve a delightful golden brown. Opting for
brioche bread adds a touch of sweetness, filling the void left by the absence of sherry wine.
The brioche’s lighter, fluffier texture absorbs the broth beautifully during baking, making it mypreferred choice. For the cheese, use the largest setting on a box grater, and investing in authentic Gruyère is key for the soup’s optimal flavor. While Swiss is a suitable alternative, the nuanced, nutty complexities and superior melting ability of Gruyère make it the ideal option for elevating this soup to its pinnacle.
After the 20-minute simmer, it’s time to generously season with salt and pepper, especially if you haven’t seasoned until this point. While using a substantial amount of fresh thyme can be a bit of a task, the superior flavor it imparts compared to dried thyme is well worth the effort.

Conclude with the addition of butter, introducing a glossy finish and an extra layer of savory goodness. Remember, when adding butter to a soup or sauce, always do so at the end when the heat is mostly off or completely off, following the French culinary technique known as “monte au beurre.”

Now, onto serving—whether immediately with the hot soup or storing it in the fridge for
reheating whenever you desire. Pour into heatproof bowls or crocks. Crown it with croutons and a generous mound of cheese. While it may initially resemble a mountain, fear not, as it will gracefully melt down, and the visual drama is entirely worth it. Slide it into a 350-degree oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese achieves a gooey, melty perfection, and the sides bubble. Retrieve the soups from the oven. If you happen to have a kitchen torch, this is the opportune time to use it, creating a beautifully browned top. Alternatively, if you don’t have a torch, switch your oven to broil for a couple of minutes. Keep in mind that real Gruyère cheese may not brown as much as other cheeses, so be prepared for that distinction. If you’ve savored French onion soup before, you’re well aware that the most challenging part of this dish is waiting for it to cool down enough to relish fully! The patience is always rewarded with a culinary experience,well worth the anticipation.

By Published On: February 1, 2024Categories: What's Cookin'?

About the Author: Joshua Houghton

I've been cooking ever since I can remember, and it's not just a passion for me; it's a way of life. Hi, I'm Joshua, and I've dedicated my culinary journey to the art of creating unforgettable dining experiences. What truly sets my heart on fire is the intimacy of cooking in people's homes, where I can connect with them on a personal level. I run my own catering business, where I craft bespoke menus tailored to each client's desires. But it's not just about the food, it's about the stories and memories that unfold around the dinner table. I have a deep commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, not only for their freshness and quality but also to support thecommunity that has always inspired me. Cooking with heart, soul, and local flavors – that's what defines my culinary philosophy.

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