On a chilly day, there’s nothing more appetizing than a bowl of steaming hot onion soup bubbling away under a blanket of browned cheese. Normally, caramelizing the onions for this masterpiece is a laborious process that may involve an hour of almost constant stirring. Fortunately, your slow cooker can now do most of this tiresome work for you.

Creamy French Onion Soup
Serves 6
  1. Medium to large (4 to 5 quart) slow cooker
  2. 6 ovenproof soup bowls
  3. 6 onions, thinly sliced
  4. 3 tbsp melted butter 45 mL
  5. 1 tbsp granulated sugar 15 mL
  6. 8 cups good-quality beef broth 2 L
  7. 1 tsp salt 5 mL
  8. 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns 5 mL
  9. 2 tbsp brandy or cognac 30 mL
  10. 12 slices baguette, about 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) thick
  11. 2 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyère cheese 500 mL
  1. 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. 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. 3. Add broth, salt, pepper and brandy or cognac. Do not replace towels, cover and cook on High for 2 hours.
  4. 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.
  5. Vegetarian Alternative
  6. Substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth and follow the instructions for enhancing the flavor
  1. Tips
  2. If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker.
  3. 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 broth. To improve 8 cups (2 L) prepared beef 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.
  4. Make Ahead
  5. 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
Posted in Recipes, Soups.


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