French Onion Soup

IMG_3633Although onions aren’t as glamorous as lemons and French onion soup isn’t as refreshing as lemonade, I believe that when life gives you an excess of onions, there is only one thing to do: make French onion soup. Why? Well, it’s easy to throw together a pot and within a short amount of time, you have a rewarding bowl of cheesy, comforting, soulful soup.

I always want to make it when I’m at the cabin, but for some strange reason, my dad says that he doesn’t like French onion soup. How can a person not like French onion soup? It’s like saying you don’t like puppies!

Anyway, this is the version I’ve been making recently. The broth is extremely important as it’s the flavor base of everything. I used homemade chicken stock because that is what I normally have on hand, but I just made lamb stock and I can’t wait to try this French onion soup with it.

Since my broiler is inconveniently located underneath my oven and I have to lie on my stomach on the floor to broil anything, I toast the bread with cheese in the oven until it’s super crisp. Then I top the soup bowl with the oversized cheese crouton. Tres bon! (Was my French correct there?)

IMG_3630 French Onion Soup

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 super large onions, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup sherry
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups homemade chicken stock or beef stock
1 cup thickly grated gruyere
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
4 thick slices of sourdough bread

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and fragrant, 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and sugar and cook over fairly slow heat until the onions turn golden brown and are caramelized with a soft and melty texture, about 25 minutes.
  3. Add the sherry and deglaze the pan, scrapping up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the thyme, Worcestershire, mustard and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat an oven to 400°F (or preheat the broiler if it’s not underneath your oven).
  7. In a small bowl, or on a cutting board, combine the two cheeses with your fingers. Top each piece of sourdough with a heaping mound of grated cheese.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bread is crisply toasted and the cheese is melted, bubbly, and just beginning to brown. Alternately, broil the cheese bread for 4 – 5 minutes until the cheese is starting to brown and bubble.
  9. Ladle the soup into rustic serving bowls and top each one with a piece of cheesy bread. Enjoy immediately.

Serves 4.

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