French Onion Soup

With a freezer stocked with chicken and beef stock, the only reasonable thing to do was to make soup. A couple of months ago, I had received an email from America’s Test Kitchen containing a link to a video in which they demonstrated how to make French Onion Soup. Both Claire and I love French Onion Soup, and after watching the video a couple of times to write down the recipe, a free Sunday seemed to be the perfect day to make the soup.

The soup will feed six people, and will take 3-4 hours to make.

Here is what you will need:

  • 4 pounds yellow onions
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 ½ tsp salt, divided
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Toasted baguette slices
  • Grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F. Coat a dutch oven pot with cooking spray to prevent onions from sticking (I have a 5 quart and it worked fine). Put the 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot. Slice the four pounds of onion pole to pole ¼” thick (see photograph for illustration) and put all the onions in the pot. This is definitely the worst part of the whole experience, as I found myself tearing up a lot. Power through as the end result is definitely worth the little pain. Top the onions one half teaspoon salt.

Cover the pot and roast for one hour. After the hour, remove the pot from the oven and give the onions a stir, making sure to scrap down the sides.

Roast the onions for another 90 minutes, stirring and scraping after an hour, cracking the lid for the last 30 minutes. (I forgot to cover the onions which resulted in the onions being slightly burnt.)

After 90 minutes, cook the onions on the stove over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes making sure the onions do not burn and the bottom of the pan does not turn black. The pan will look quite ugly, but the goal is to develop fond, which is good flavor, as long as it is not burnt.

Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of water, waiting until most of the water has evaporated, about 6-8 minutes. Repeat another 3 times, using a total of one cup of water.

Deglaze the pan with ½ cup dry sherry, again waiting until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups of beef stock and 2 cups of water, or any mixture thereof (more beef stock will result in a richer soup). Add another ½ teaspoon of salt and the bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into oven/broiler safe bowls, top with toasted bread and grated cheese. Bake in oven until the cheese is melted and slightly brown.

The soup turned out quite amazing. It had a rich onion flavor and did not require much cheese. The soup is rich enough to serve as a meal, which would be great accompanied by a side salad. I would definitely recommend making the soup, and it shall make another appearance in the Camp household.

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