This soup was inspired by my new, oven-safe ramekins that I am finding more and more uses for every day. French Onion Soup is one of my all-time favorites, but let’s be honest, I’ll eat anything with bread and bubbly cheese involved! This soup costs about $6 to make and serves about 5 (4 if you’re my husband and I). While you’re at it, might as well double the onions you caramelize and stash some away in the fridge for the million other things you can put them in (frittatas, sandwiches, etc.).
A note on the onions: I probably sliced mine too thin. I used my mandoline because I thought it might take me too long by hand. If you use your mandoline, set it to a thicker setting if you want a heartier onion as they are going to reduce in size substantially throughout the caramelization process.
1 ½ pounds (about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt, plus additional to taste
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar (helps to brown the onions)
3 tablespoons AP flour
8 cups beef or other brown stock (like mushroom, if you’re a veggie)
½ cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth (if you’re fancy and have that around)
Freshly ground black pepper
Melt butter and oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottom pan or, ideally, a Dutch/French oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat in the oily butter, and cover. Reduce to realllly low and let them slowly steep for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, uncover, slightly raise the heat, and stir in the salt + sugar. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, for up to one hour (this could take even longer) but for at least 30 or 40 minutes, until they have turned an even, deep golden brown. Do yourself a favor and don’t skimp on this step.
When they’re fully caramelized, sprinkle with the flour, cook, stirring for about 3 minutes. Add the wine in full and then the stock a little at a time, stirring to combine thoroughly before adding more. Season with s+p and bring to a simmer partially covered for another 30-40 minutes. Skim the cloudy, foamy, clumpy stuff of the top if needed. Correct seasonings.
Arrange the number of oven-safe bowls you intend to serve on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Add to each a teaspoon or so of cheese (I used a Swiss-Parmesan blend) and another teaspoon of freshly grated onion. Pour in the soupe and stir to combine. Cover with a few hunks of stale or super toasty French bread and then pile on s’more cheeziness. Put these under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes and garnish with parsley if you’re feeling extra fancy tonight!
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen