This french onion soup has rich flavor from hour long caramelized onions, brandy to deglaze the pan, and fresh rosemary and thyme perfumed throughout. Topped with toasted french bread and gruyere cheese, it creates the perfect bite.
French Onion Soup has quickly and undeniably become one of my favorite soups to eat and make. I was always opposed to the idea of bread in soups because I just couldn’t handle the texture as a kid. I’m not convinced that I’m completely over that now, however, french onion soup is the best exception to my rule. I chose not to use wine in this recipe to make it a little different from what’s already out there. Instead, I deglaze my dutch oven with brandy after the onions are finished caramelizing. This helps to pick up all of the fond at the bottom of the pot, therefore creating big flavor.
How To Caramelize Onions for French Onion Soup
The caramelization of onions is a slow process, but it’s always worth it. There are a few steps that ensure you’re developing color on the onions at a good pace without burning them or in addition, taking them too far and making them mushy. I like to slice my onions thin, but not thinner than and eighth of an inch. They can burn easier if they’re thinner than that.
I use a combination of butter and olive oil to cook down the onions, and I also season with kosher salt to help them sweat, and sugar to aid in caramelization. My number one tip would be to stay by the pot for the entire hour until the onions are fully caramelized. I make it a point to stir my onions with a silicone spatula every five minutes, as well as checking ito see if they’re sticking to the bottom or starting to turn brown too quickly. This whole process is gradual, but you’ll start seeing big changes when you hit the 40 minute mark.
How To Make French Onion Soup
Surprisingly, a majority of the time spent making this soup will be spent caramelizing the onions. After that, you could finish the rest within 15 minutes.
- 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6-7 (950g) yellow onions, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, Diamond Crystal
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups beef stock
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- kosher salt, to season
- black pepper, to season
- french bread, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces & toasted
- gruyere cheese, grated for topping
- In a dutch oven over a medium-low flame, heat up the unsalted butter and olive oil until the butter is melted. Then, pour in the sliced onions and sprinkle with one teaspoon each of kosher salt & granulated sugar. Stir to coat the onions in the butter and oil.
- For the next hour, stir the onions at least every five minutes. Around the 30 minute mark, you will start to see some color. Keep going! The color starts to change drastically in the last 15 minutes. Make sure the onions do not burn, brown too fast, or stick to the bottom of the pot. There will be some fond (brown bits) at the bottom of the pot. This is okay & normal.
- After the onions have taken on a rich brown color, add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Deglaze the pan by pouring in the brandy and scraping up the brown bits with your silicone spatula. Let the brandy reduce for a minute.
- Add in the balsamic vinegar, the beef stock and the herbs; rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. I like to tie the herbs together with a piece of kitchen twine so that they’re easier to remove when plating the soup.
- Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes. Remove the dutch oven from the heat & remove the herbs from the soup.
- Portion the soup into oven safe bowls or ramekins (so they won’t shatter in the oven) and top with slices of toasted french bread and grated gruyere cheese. Finally, place the soup filled ramekins under a broiler for a few minutes, just to melt the cheese, & serve. Enjoy!