Friday, December 13, 2013

Recipe: French Onion Soup

When it gets cold out, all I want to do is make soup.

And watch Netflix and lounge around in my pjs.

Don't worry boys, I'm still single.

But if all of this is lazy and sloth-like and has a lot of calories, well, at least it's delicious.

Because this soup is so good.

It's loosely adapted from The Pioneer Woman's French Onion Soup.

*Seriously - if I need a recipe I always check to see if she has it first. She's funny and really talented, and nothing is too difficult. I'm a pretty good cook, but this is really for all levels. 

Basically I adore her.

I make my soup a little differently, although I follow most of the same steps. This, to me, tastes a little more like the French Onion soup I had in France, particularly in this tiny restaurant right by Notre Dame. I started with soup, then had Steak au Poive and frites, and had a wonderful coffee for dessert.

(This might have been at Aux Tours Notre Dame - it's clearly been too long since I've been to Paris.)


*Maybe the reason I'm still single isn't the Netflix and mismatched pjs - maybe it's because I already gave my heart away to a place. This place. 

Anyway. So I ate a lot of amazing stuff in Paris (the crepes! the macarons! that sandwich that was the best sandwich I've ever eaten!) but this soup was perfect. Warm, cheesy, complex, and the perfect thing to warm up a tired traveler who was, for all intents and purposes, alone in one of the biggest cities on earth on her first trip out of the country. 

Making it is a several hour process but it's so, so incredibly worth it. 

What you'll need: 

1ish sticks of butter (I say 1ish, because if you only have "Almost" a stick of butter, that's okay, or if you like more butter, that's okay too.)
4-6 medium yellow onions - this is not a scientific measurement in any way. I like a lot of onions in my soup and less broth, so I did about 6-7.
2 cups white wine (dry is best - I think I used a chardonnay, but whatever you have)
1/2 - 1 cup red wine, if you have it
2 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups beef broth
4 cloves minced garlic (I like things garlicky - if you don't, obvs don't put as much in)
Worcestershire sauce (a good 5-6 shakes)
Crusty French bread or, like I use, challah

So I definitely add more wine than PW, but this is a basic "how to" on French Onion soup. Really, as long as you do the basic steps, it's really difficult to mess up.

Preheat your oven to about 400 degrees. Mine is a little finicky, so I did 425, but anywhere between 375 and 425 and you're in the right place.

Start chopping your onions. This takes forever. But they should look like this: 

*Like half moons. You want them to be pretty thin.

Melt your butter in a large Dutch oven or other pan that can be covered and put in the oven. I use this guy

*This was a gift from my parents for christmas a few years ago, and I use it constantly.

*She's a melting!

When the butter gets melted, toss in your onions, give them a toss, and cook them, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 25-30 minutes. Of course, if you're using fewer onions, you want to cook them for less time and vice versa, but they should look something like this when they're ready for the next step: 

*Oh hello.

Now take them off the stove, put them in the oven, with the lid just a little bit open, for about an hour. I checked on mine about 30 minutes in, gave them a stir, and then left them for the rest of the time. Until this happened: 

*Come here often? 

Basically you want them to get really carmelized and soft, but not to stick or get goopy.

Next, time to add some liquids!

Put the pan back on the stove, take the lid off, and turn the heat on medium or so. Scrap the bottom for all the good stuff, and then turn the heat off and add the wine. 

If you don't have red, it's fine. I just like about half a cup of red in addition to the white. 

Stir that around, turn the heat back up to medium, and let the wine cook for about 10 minutes. 

When it's reduced some (and smells fantastic!), add your chicken and beef broth. 

*This is the wine I used - I'm pretty sure someone left it at my house at the Halloween party. 

*Yum. This is with the wine reduced and maybe some of the broth added. I'm bad at things. 

Add the Worcestershire, the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and let it simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes. 

While it's simmering, grab some bread. 

You can do either crusty French bread, which is great, or, my own twist, challah. 

Challah rolls to be specific. 

*From Ricki's Cookie Corner, the best kosher bakery/best roll makers ever. 

*Tear a roll in half, and slather it with butter. 

Then, you can either put it in the broiler, or, if you have an oven that's seen a couple centuries, put it in a cast iron skillet and brown it up. I don't like much bread in my soup, since I like to dip it, but it's a personal preference. 

While that's going and your soup is bubbling away, grab some gruyere and shred it up.

*Yeah it's expensive. But wrap it up after you grate some off and it will last forever. And this is really the cheese you need. I add a little mozzarella too, but this is where it's at.

*Plus you get a fancy rind!

*I love cheese.

Now the soup is done. It looks like this: 

*Yep. I'm gonna marry this soup.

Things could get all fancy here. 

You could put this in little ramekins and put the bread on top and the cheese and broil it. 

You could do a lot of things. 

But I did this: 

*No but really.

Yeah, I plunked it in a bowl, put some of the toasted pieces of challah in, sprinkled (a lot of) gruyere on top, and sat down to pure happiness. I also used a roll for dunking on the side. 

Food in Paris is such an amazing thing, and this makes me feel a little like I'm back there.

Il n’y a que deux endroits au monde où l’on puisse vivre heureux:  chez soi et à Paris.


  1. This looks great! I ate everything BUT French Onion Soup in Paris. Oh well, guess I gotta go back!

  2. Great soup with onion i will try to make it thank you very much

    Better Apple Dumpling Recipe