Simply recipes french onion soup is a simple but delicious recipe that combines deeply caramelized onions simmered in a rich beef broth. It’s topped with toasted bread and smothered in melted cheese, making it the ultimate comfort food for cold weather.
The key to this classic is slicing the onions very thinly. You don’t want to cut them too thick, as that will lead to mushy and overcooked onions, or burnt ones.
Caramelizing the Onions
Caramelizing onions is one of the most important steps in making great French onion soup. It takes time and patience, but the result is deliciously sweet and flavorful onions that add extra depth of flavor to the soup.
The key to caramelizing onions is to cook them very slowly, giving the sugars that are naturally present in onions a chance to cook and caramelize. This process is the only way to get the onions to their desired color and caramelized texture, which is what makes caramelized onions so great.
To get started, heat a pan with a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Choose a heavy pan, like a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, to help the onions coat with the oil.
After the pan is heated, add the sliced onions. Stir the onions to distribute the oil throughout them and coat them evenly with it.
Continue cooking the onions until they are soft and translucent. It usually takes about 15 minutes to soften them, but be patient and be sure to stir often so they don’t burn.
When the onions are just soft and translucent, turn the heat up to medium-high to begin the caramelizing process. Keep stirring the onions frequently, scraping up any browned bits that form on the bottom of the pan.
It will take about 45 minutes for the onions to be deeply browned and caramelized, but they can take longer if you want them really brown. The onions will release a lot of their water and protein during this cooking process, so be patient and watch them closely.
Once the onions are deep golden and caramelized, remove them from the heat. Allow them to cool slightly before serving.
The best part of caramelized onions is that they are so versatile! You can add them to any soup or dish that needs some sweet and savory flavor. Serve them on top of a bowl of French onion soup, spread them on a slice of bread and broil them in the oven, or sprinkle them over a steak sandwich.
Simmering the Onions
Caramelizing the onions for 45 minutes gives them their sweet, deep flavor. But, the onions must be slowly cooked to get them to their deep caramelization – we don’t want them to burn or stick to the pan!
Using a large, heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onions in clarified butter or oil until they soften. Stir frequently and cook until the onions are deeply caramelized, around 45 to 65 minutes. If at any point you see that the onions are burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot, reduce the heat to low and add a splash of water to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
When the onions are caramelized, remove them from the heat and let them cool for 10 minutes. This will make them easier to serve. Then, add the wine and simmer for a few minutes until it has reduced slightly.
This is the time to add the broth and the spices. We use bay leaf and thyme to add some herby flavor, but you can also try adding a little red pepper flakes for a spicier soup.
To avoid making the soup too spicy, you can also add some white wine during this step. Adding wine helps deglaze the onions, and it also has an acidic quality that can help cut through the beefy flavors of the soup.
The best onions to use in French onion soup are yellow, as they have a bright, mild flavor and can be infused with both bitterness and sweetness. Alternatively, you can use red onions in this recipe, but they will likely not have the same depth of flavor as yellow onions.
Traditionally, beef broth is used in this soup but you can also use chicken or vegetable stock. It’s important to taste your store-bought stock before using it in this soup – many of them are too salty or have too much flavor for this dish!
This delicious and simple French onion soup is perfect for any occasion. It is incredibly easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. The result is a delicious soup that will warm and soothe your soul.
Toasting the Bread
Adding toasted bread to a soup is the perfect way to add texture and flavor. It also keeps the soup from becoming too hot. In fact, this is one of the best ways to serve French onion soup.
You can use a variety of bread, including a baguette, slices of whole wheat, or white bread. Just make sure that the bread is fresh and has a buttery, soft crust that is lightly toasted before serving.
For this recipe, you’ll need beef broth, butter, flour, and onions. You can also use chicken stock if you prefer, though the beef stock gives your soup an extra layer of flavor.
First, you’ll need to caramelize the onions. This takes a bit of time, but it’s well worth the effort. Caramelized onions are incredibly sweet, with a deep flavor.
Yellow onions are a traditional choice, but you can use all types of onions for this recipe. You can even mix the different kinds to create a well-rounded flavor.
After you caramelize the onions, you’ll need to simmer them in a pot. You’ll want to cook them until they are deeply browned, but not so much that they burn or scorch. It takes about 45 minutes to fully caramelize the onions.
You’ll need to add a little flour to the caramelized onions to thicken them up. You can also add some white wine to the mixture to give it more flavor.
When you’re ready to serve your soup, assemble it in oven-safe bowls or ramekins and top each with a slice of toasted bread and a pinch of cheese. The cheese will melt and brown as it heats, allowing the soup to reach its full potential.
Another option is to broil the cheese and bread on a baking sheet before adding them to the soup. This will allow the cheese to melt and brown before being added to the soup, which will ensure that it’s perfectly melted and seasoned before you serve it.
A good rule of thumb is to let the soup and toast cool for a few minutes before removing them from the oven. This will ensure that the cheese doesn’t get soggy while it’s in contact with the hot soup, and the bread will remain crisp.
Finishing the Soup
A delicious bowl of French onion soup is a must-have in any kitchen. This soup is a classic comfort food, and it’s easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients.
One of the most important parts of making a great French onion soup is ensuring that the onions are cooked thoroughly, so they soften and caramelize without burning. This takes a little bit of time, and you’ll want to keep an eye on the pot to make sure the onions don’t burn or stick.
Once the onions have caramelized, you’ll want to add them to a stock pot with beef broth and bring them to a simmer. This is a slow process, and it’s important to stir the pot often so the onions don’t sink to the bottom and burn.
Another important step is to add some flour to the mixture so it thickens up a bit and helps bind the onions. This de facto roux will add a richness and body to the soup, and it also helps prevent the onions from breaking down too quickly.
The best French onion soups use sweet onions, like Vidalias, which add a nice balance of sweetness to the savory broth. But you can also substitute yellow onions for a slightly less sweet taste.
A good stock is also key to the success of this soup. The beef broth should be flavorful and nourishing, but not too rich. A high-quality stock is worth the extra money, and it will help you get the most flavor out of your onions.
You can buy pre-made beef stock at many supermarkets, or you can make your own with a few basic ingredients. It’s a great way to make your own French onion soup at home, and it will also save you money in the long run.
To finish off the soup, you can top it with slices of bread or cheese. A good crusty baguette is the ideal topping for this dish, and it will help give each bowl of soup a nice crusty exterior while providing a delicious texture.