French Onion Soup

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Recently, someone asked if I had a good French Onion Soup recipe I could pass along… I said I did, then got home and realized…actually, no, I didn’t.  I had found recipes throughout the years that were close…almost what I was looking for…but never quite what I had envisioned as THE French Onion Soup.

After some research of those beloved recipes, along with some others, I created what is my favorite French Onion Soup recipe.  It uses a lot of onions, yes, …but they will reduce down…I promise you that. It uses both beef and chicken stocks…gasp..for those beef stock purists, I know.  For me, I find using only beef stock can be too one-note / beefy / salty. The wine is my own invention…not red, not white, but rose.  (What?!) The day I was testing this recipe the only dry white I had on hand was a very buttery, very oak-y Chardonnay…not right for this soup.  The onions are already so sweet once they caramelize, I needed a wine with acidity.  I happened to have a really nice, dry, tart Rose..so in it went.

When I served this for dinner, everyone was happy (and I even got a round of applause). This is my French Onion Soup. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • ¼ c duck fat (or butter)
  • 5 lbs yellow onions (about 5 large)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ c dry sherry
  • 1 c dry rose wine (I use Les Allies Grenache Rose, OR you can use a dry white wine like unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Grigio)
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 4 c beef stock
  • 2 large sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette (or other crusty bread)
  • 4 oz Gruyere, shredded (about 1 cup)

Preparation

  1. Halve the onions lengthwise and slice into ¼” strips (use a Mandoline – WITH the hand guard – if you have one to make quick work of this step).

  2. In a large Dutch oven, melt the duck fat (or butter) over medium-low heat. Add the onions (it’s A LOT of onions, they WILL get reduced, I promise) and salt, toss them in the fat to coat. Cover with a heavy, tight fitting lid (or tightly crimped foil) and sweat for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally, the onions probably won’t stick, but you don’t want them to burn, so keep an eye on them.

  3. Remove the lid, the onions will be soft and liquidy.  Keep the heat at a low to medium-low heat, depending on the strength of your burner. You don’t want the onions to burn, this will ruin the whole thing.  [IF you get a little burning on the bottom of the pan, lower the heat, pour in a little of the wine to deglaze the pan and keep a better eye on it – I mention this because I’ve done it.] Saute for another 45 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The onions will turn a deep, rich brown and will reduce significantly.

  4. Pour in the sherry, deglazing the pan and let the wine cook away (2-3 minutes).
  5. Pour in the wine, chicken and beef stocks, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Remove the bay and thyme.

  7. Taste for seasoning.  Add salt and/or pepper, if needed.
  8. Heat your broiler and put the top rack somewhere in the top ⅓ of the oven. 
  9. Ladle the onion soup into each crock.
  10.  Top with a slice or two of bread (depending on the size of the bread and the crock, you want it to basically cover the soup). Sprinkle with the shredded Gruyere.

  11.  Place under the broiler for 2 minutes to melt the cheese…enjoy!

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