The Best French Onion Soup
When I was little, I remember my parents would order French onion soup at restaurants, and I would pick all the crunchy cheese and bread off the sides of the crocks. It was the best part of the soup, in my opinion. Now that I have joined the ranks of being a lover of French Onion soup, it's still my opinion (!).
One thing is for certain: French Onion Soup is the QUEEN of fall - and of all soups.
The secret of a really good French onion soup is a perfect blend of caramelized onion. All onions have different flavors and acidity levels, but I prefer to use a combination of yellow and white onions for soup. White onions are a bit sharper in taste, and yellow onions have a mild flavor. Neither is overpowering, which is precisely what you want for French onion soup.
When onions are caramelized, they undergo a chemical change called pyrolysis - which is when the food oxidizes. When onions are cooked low and slow, the natural sugars transform into simpler forms of sugar. This gives the caramelized onions a richer, nuttier sweetness and brown coloring.
Back to the recipe...
Classic French Onion Soup
2 lb yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 lb white onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 quarts chicken stock (beef stock can also be used)
2 sprigs Thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 cup shredded Gruyére
5-6 sliced Swiss cheese
French baguette, sliced
Heat a large pot or dutch oven to medium-high and melt butter.
Add onions and cook for 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 hours. Occasionally stirring.
Add salt and pepper and red wine. Simmer over medium heat to cook off alcohol.
Pour in stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Lower heat and cook for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°.
Add fish sauce and apple cider vinegar. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
Rub the garlic clove on bread slices.
Fill crocks with the soup. Top with bread slices, then layer on a slice of Swiss cheese and sprinkle on Gruyére.
Bake for 15 minutes, then broil on high until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
This recipe makes about 6 crocks of soup - and it doesn't last long around here! The addition of fish sauce and ACV to this recipe makes the flavors burst. We make this a handful of times as soon as the weather gets cold. It's like a hug in a bowl. Enjoy!!!