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2 Classic French Onion Soup RecipesCompiled by Vicki McClure Davidson
Here are two different recipes for homemade French onion soup. Both are outstanding and inexpensive to make for a family lunch or dinner.
They're simple to make and cost very little per serving. Rather than buy a can or box of manufactured French onion soup, you'll be amazed at how much better tasting it is when you do the food preparation yourself.
Wonderful to wolf down during a cold, drizzly winter evening or to sip during a summer brunch—hearty and low-fat, this soup is a guilt-free and exceedingly thrifty comfort food.
French onion soup has been a frugal staple in French homes for centuries, a way to efficiently use up stale bread. Use these recipes as a springboard to creating your own version, if you choose.
One steaming bowl of this rich flavorful soup ordered in an upscale restaurant can cost as much as 8 to 10 dollars... go figure.
This taste-bud twanging soup requires oven-safe bowls because the cheese is browned directly on top of the soup. The best choice is a small, deep bowl so that the cheese and bread completely cover the top of the soup.
Classic French Onion Soup Recipe #1 (from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 5 med. red onions (about 3 pounds), halved and sliced thin
- 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
- 6 c. low-sodium chicken broth or stock
- 1 3/4 c. low-sodium beef broth or stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 baguette, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 8 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are dark and sticky, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the vinegar and scrape the browned crust from the pot. Stir in the chicken broth, beef broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and discard the bay leaves.
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange oven-safe soup bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and ladle the soup into them. Top each bowl with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
To make ahead: This soup can be prepared through step 2, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat over low heat and proceed with step 3.
Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Featuring More Than 1,200 Kitchen-Tested Recipes, America's Test Kitchen & Cook's Illustrated, 2005.
Classic French Onion Soup Recipe #2 (from SoupSong.com)
Always serve this marvelous French country dish as a meal, lunch, or dinner, with lots of salad and crusty French bread—hot to 8-12 people.
- 1 stick butter or margarine (8 T.)
- 8 c. onions, thinly sliced
- 3 T. flour
- 3 qt. beef stock
- 1 T. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 c. brandy
- 1 tsp. BV meat glaze (or kitchen bouquet, bovril, or oxo, in a pinch)—optional
- Grated Gruyere cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- French bread (dry, stale bread is OK)
- Olive oil
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven and add the onions, stirring constantly. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until soft.
In the meantime, cut slices of French bread into 1/2-inch pieces and toast them at 350 deg. F in the oven for about 15 minutes—until they are dry crusts.
When the onions are soft, sprinkle them with flour, stir, then add 2 cups of beef stock and stir until the mixture is thickened. Add the remaining stock, stir into it the salt, the pepper, and the brandy. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour to an hour. Add the meat glaze and taste for seasoning.
When you're ready to serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls (use oven-safe bowls) and cover each with a thick handful of Gruyere cheese. Top each with a piece of the toasted bread, which has been drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkle it with the Parmesan, then run them under a broiler for a few minutes and carry the bowls out to the table to serve. The bowls will be hot, so be careful.
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