French onion soup — cold-weather comfort food.
When winter is in the air there is nothing like a bowl of steaming French Onion Soup topped with melted cheese.
Classic French Onion Soup
When winter is in the air there in nothing like a bowl of steaming French Onion Soup topped with melted cheese. I usually make mine with a rich beef stock but if you're a vegetarian, see my notes for instructions on how to prepare a meat-free version.
- 6 ovenproof soup bowls
- 6 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) melted butter
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
- 8 cups (2 L) good-quality beef broth
- 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) brandy or cognac
- 12 slices baguette, about 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) thick
- 2 cups (500 mL) shredded Swiss or Gruyère cheese
- 1. In slow cooker stoneware, combine onions and butter. Stir well to coat onions thoroughly. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until onions are softened.
- 2. Add sugar and stir well. Place two clean tea towels, each folded in half (so you will have four layers), over top of stoneware to absorb moisture. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours, stirring two or three times to ensure that onions are browning evenly, replacing towels each time.
- 3. Add broth, salt, pepper and brandy or cognac. Do not replace towels, cover and cook on High for 2 hours.
- 4. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls. Place 2 slices baguette in each bowl. Sprinkle liberally with cheese and broil until top is bubbly and brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Vegetarian Alternative
- Substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth and follow the instructions for enhancing the flavor.
- Since it’s important that the broth for this soup be top quality, I recommend using good-quality homemade broth or enhancing store-bought beef or vegetable broth. To improve 8 cups (2 L) prepared broth, combine in a large saucepan with 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped, 1 tsp (5 mL) celery seed, 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns, 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme, 4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf and 1 cup (250 mL) white wine. Bring to a boil, simmer, covered, for 30 minutes and strain.
- If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker.
- Make Ahead
- Complete Steps 1 and 2. Transfer caramelized onions to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, place onions in stoneware and complete the recipe, allowing an extra hour or two on High to ensure broth becomes bubbly hot.
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/