This French onion soup is easy to make, but it takes time and patience. You can’t rush caramelizing onions. But your patience will be rewarded with a delicious soup that’s worthy of a special occasion.
3poundsYellow Onionspeeled, halved, and sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces
6cupsBeef Brothor substitute chicken broth, or vegetable broth, if needed
3-4Thyme Sprigstied together with kitchen twine for easy removal
½teaspoonSaltplus extra if needed at the end
Crusty French Baguettesliced into ½-1 inch thick rounds and lightly toasted
6-8ouncesGruyéreProvolone or Swiss Cheese (4-8 slices - if the slices are thin, double up)
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the sliced onions.
Cook the onions for 45-50 minutes. Stir the onions occasionally at first. As they begin to turn a soft caramel color (after 15 minutes or so) start stirring them more often to keep them from burning.
After approximately 25 minutes stir the onions almost constantly and gently scrape any bits off the bottom of the pot. After 45-50 minutes they should be a rich golden color.
Add the white wine and stir while gently scraping any bits off the bottom of the pot. Cook the wine with the onions for 1-2 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out.
Add the beef broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot and stir well.
Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the onion soup to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the soup at a simmer, if it’s boiling too vigorously, lower the heat.
While the soup cooks
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Bake the bread for 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted.
When the soup is done, take the pot off the heat and discard the bay leaf and thyme.
Taste and add salt if needed. As a reference, we did not add any extra salt to ours.
Build the French onion soup
Preheat oven to the broil setting.
Ladle the soup into individual, broiler safe bowls (like a soup crock or ramekin). Place one or two slices of bread on the soup (depending on the size of the bowl). Place a slice or two of the cheese over the bread.
Set the bowls on a baking sheet; this will prevent the cheese from melting all over your oven. Plus, it makes getting the bowls in and out a lot easier.
Broil the French onion soup until the cheese is melted and becomes golden in spots. This step will only take a few minutes. Check on them every minute until they reach the desired color.
Get everything ready to go for this soup before starting. Once you get to the point where you need to stir almost constantly, there won’t be any more time for prep.
If you don’t drink wine, deglaze to the pot with broth, follow the same instructions above.
Do not slice the onions too thin or they will disintegrate during the caramelizing process.