There is something so extra about French Onion Soup. Is it the crusty bread, soaking in all the savory broth? Is it the rich, melty cheese ostentatiously melting over the sides? I think at it’s core, it is the onions. There is no rushing that beautiful, golden brown color and silky texture. They must take their sweet time, but the flavor is so savory and rich, it’s completely worth it! This recipe serves 4-6, depending on the size of your ramekins.
You will need:
- 8 cups of sliced onions (I know it sounds crazy, but yes, you do need that many)
- 2 TBS butter
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 3 cloves grated garlic
- 3/4 cups dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
- 48 oz beef broth
- 4 TBS cognac (optional)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 baguette, either toasted or dried out and broken into chunks.
- 2 cups grated gruyere, divided
- 12 slices Swiss cheese (possibly more if using smaller ramekins)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I like to peel the onions and refrigerate them before I start slicing. I turn into a watery mess in about .05 seconds! So, slice ’em up into strips and throw them in a pot with the butter and olive oil. They must sauté away on medium high heat for a minimum of an 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Stir them about every 5 minutes or so. If I’m feeling luxurious, I’ll deglaze with a little extra cognac as they cook away. When they’re a beautiful deep golden brown color, grate in the garlic. Next, pour in the wine, stir and let it absorb, about 2 minutes. Next, pour in your beef broth and mix in the salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Prepare the ramekins: Place a slice of Swiss cheese in the bottom of each ramekin. Next ladle in the soup until its about 3/4 of the way full. top the surface with the dried bread. Next add the sliced Swiss cheese on top, and get some over the top but let part of it drape down the sides. It’s just sexier, ok? Top with the 1/2 cup of the grated gruyere. Next pour on a TBS of cognac, and garnish with few fresh sprigs of thyme. Repeat with the remaining ramekins.
Now you’re ready for the oven! Word to the wise: I divide the ramekins among two baking sheets or jelly roll pans so it’s not so heavy. Pop the ramekins in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, and then turn on the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is starts to brown on the top. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy!
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