Do you like soup? I do. I like homemade soup even better. I also love french onion soup. I like to order it while dining out. Before, the thought of making it at home was waaay to intimidating! I mean.. it seems like there are so many steps and crazy ingredients like some kind of alcohol? And what about those special dishes, you know the ones they put the soup in and melt the cheese on top of so the cheese sticks to the bowl and gets all brown and crispy and delicious. No way I can accomplish this.
Ya I was wrong. French Onion Soup ended up being pretty easy and holy COW was it cheap!!! You can feed an entire army for under $5!! But of course, I didn't let any of my friends know that. I just kept it my little secret as I impressed them with a nice big tasty bowl of fancy soup. Now.. the secret is out.
And this is the story of how I tweaked French Onion Soup so I can make it at home whenever I want.
French Onion Soup
(serves 4 bowls)
1 tbsp of butter
4-5 smallish onions
1 box of beef broth (you can use vegetable broth for a vegetarian option)
1 tsp of thyme (optional)
1-2 splashes of worcestershire sauce (optional)
French baguette ... or any kind of baguette, doesn't need to be French! Don't hate.
Dijon Mustard (possibly optional, see below)
Cheese (gruyere, provolone, or mozzarella)
Brandy or White Wine (extremely optional..I never EVER have that causally on hand)
Slice all the onions first. Not chop, but slice. Get out your biggest pot and put it on medium heat. Throw in the butter and the onions. Give them a good stir. Reduce heat to low and start caramelizing your onions. Which means, you are going to cook down the onions, really slowly, on a low heat. They will soften and darken in color, but shouldn't be fried! Oh here is a pic.
This will take about 45 mins. I know... a long time. So pop a squat and read a book while continuing to stir so the onions don't stick to the bottom.
Ok, nice and golden brown and smelling fab. If you were going to add any alcohol, add it now and turn up the heat to cook off the actual alcohol. I never do this. Add the beef broth. If you would like, you make add some water. I personally don't think I need to buy a whole other box of broth when I could just add a cup or two of water. Add the worcestershire sauce and thyme. Don't have it? Don't use it. No biggie. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Put on a lid and bring up to medium-low heat and let simmer. In the mean time...lets head to the bread and cheese. Now I don't have any fancy french onion soup bowls. Nor do I even have any oven-safe bowls. So I improvised.
Slice the baguette into thick slices. Add cheese (if you are using mozzarella, try spreading some dijon on the bread, it makes it taste a little more fancy and makes up for the fact that you are not using fancy cheese. Which by the way I also NEVER have fancy cheese on hand because lets face it, cheese is friggan expensive). Place the bread under the broiler in the oven until the cheese melts and gets all crispy and brown.
Soup should be ready by now, so serve it up in some bowls and plop the cheesy bread on top.
I told you, impressive.
Cooking for 1 Tip: Obviously you are going to reduce the recipe by half, but the thought of standing around for 45 mins just to make myself a bowl of soup is a little.. well.. I just wouldn't do it. So, you can reduce the time dramatically if you skip the whole caramelizing of the onion step. Just cook them until they are translucent and then add the other stuff. You may not get quite the depth of flavour as the other way, but it sure is just as tasty.