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!
- 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)
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Pour in the sherry, deglazing the pan and let the wine cook away (2-3 minutes).
- Pour in the wine, chicken and beef stocks, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Remove the bay and thyme.
- Taste for seasoning. Add salt and/or pepper, if needed.
- Heat your broiler and put the top rack somewhere in the top ⅓ of the oven.
- Ladle the onion soup into each crock.
- 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.
- Place under the broiler for 2 minutes to melt the cheese…enjoy!