Years ago, I bought a set of four ovenproof bowls, at a factory outlet store in Flemington, NJ, with the idea that I'd make french onion soup. Eight (or so) years later, (yay) I made it!
My first French Onion soup!
It's not hard to make, which makes me wonder (as I do from time to time) what took me so long!
There is some time involved, mainly in making the caramelized onions that serve as a base for the soup. This step turns out to be easy if you use a crockpot.
Peel, cut in half lengthwise, and slice (getting rid of the roots) about 5 pounds onions. I used regular (huge) NY "Bold" onions (the usual kind, not the sweet ones).
Throw these onions in a large crockpot with 1 stick butter. I used salted butter, so did not add salt.
Cook on low 14 hours. Cool and store in refrigerator, where they keep for weeks. Add salt later, as you use them, if you want. These will be beautifully brown and naturally sweet. But if you think they're not sweet enough, just add some sugar. I've been making these onions for a while.
These onions are great more than making soup. Use them for topping hamburgers, serving alongside any beans or meat, baking on top of a pizza, and so on. At our house, we can go through a batch of these onions in about 2 or 3 weeks. And it's just the two of us.
French Onion Soup
Take about 1 cup of caramelized onions from the fridge. In a pan, melt 1 T. butter, and put in about 1 T flour. Make paste, and heat about 4 minutes. Don't let burn. Whisk in about 3 cups stock of your choice. I used a combination of frozen chicken stock that I had on hand supplemented by water and Penzey's "broth in a jar". This Penzey's stuff is phenomenal, in my opinion. In fact, I buy a lot of my spices and such at Penzey's. My mom turned me on to Penzey's a few years ago. What I don't buy at Penzey's, I buy in ginormous bulk quantity at Costco. Put a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and simmer a while. Put the onions in. All told, simmer about 1 hour. Put pepper and salt in if desired.
Meanwhile, slice french bread into 3/4 inch slices (I made some yesterday) and toast it in the oven at around 325 degrees, basting if desired with olive oil.
Get your oven proof receptacles (I used my little bowls). It's nice to make individual type servings, but you can do it in one huge bowl, I guess, and serve it from that. For the individual servings, pPut 1 slice of bread in bottom of bowl. Put on some cheese (I used mozzarella and parmesan because that's what I had on hand but per Julia Child, you're supposed to use gruyere and or swiss with parmesan). Ladle soup on top. Float about 2 slices of bread on top of each bowl, put on more cheese, then drizzle with olive oil (again, learned from Julia Child). Bake at 325 F. for about 25 minutes. This temp browns the cheese nicely, but is not so hot that your soup boils in the oven.
Nick said this soup was as good as any he's ever had in a restaurant. That's good enough for me!