Dylan and I have been testing out this recipe for weeks now, and I knew it was finally perfected when Dylan asked what was for dinner and gave me a big “Yes!” when I replied with French Onion Soup. He has always been a big fan of French Onion Soup and being able to make it at home for relatively cheap is a great feeling.
This recipe will get you 4 bowls of soup. We like to eat it as a meal with 2 bowls each. It is scrumptious and filling and would pair perfectly with a salad or sandwich if feeding more than 2 people.
Now, what makes French Onion Soup so delicious is the beef stock–for example, Dylan is in love with Longhorn Steakhouse’s French Onion Soup and one reason it is so delicious is because they use sirloin steak stock. So when I first started making this at home for him I went out to look for some sirloin steak stock and couldn’t find it anywhere, except specially ordered online, which wasn’t happening. So I had to get creative.
I used just regular beef stock (which was actually pretty cheap) and tasted the soup as I was making it. I felt like it just wasn’t flavorful enough, or that it needed a little punch of beef flavor. I ended up adding some beef bouillon cubes, which is basically just very potent cubes of beef flavor, and it made the soup just much more delicious. After adding the bouillon cubes and eating the soup for dinner, Dylan kept saying, “the broth is just so good.” I knew I had hit the jackpot.
Another important part of French Onion Soup is the caramelizing of the onions. Don’t be afraid of this step! It’s easy peasy, but takes time. The first time I made this recipe, I rushed and didn’t properly caramelize the onions and it definitely affected the taste of the soup. One thing I do appreciate about a picky-eating husband is his honesty so Dylan was the first to point it out by saying that the onions were normally darker and sweeter. I fixed it the next time by being more patient and letting the onions get to that deep, dark brown stage and not quitting at the golden stage of caramelizing, (see photos below).
So let me show you how it’s done! If you want just the shortened recipe card, scroll all the way down. 🙂
First, slice 2 yellow onions very thinly. They don’t have to be perfect, but you want the slices to be as universal in size as possible or they will caramelize at different rates. I know it looks like a lot of onions but caramelizing them will cause them to cook down significantly, so it’s not as much as it seems. You can always adjust the amount of onions you put in yours!
Next, melt 1 tbs butter with 1 tbs olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. You don’t have to use butter, but if you do then you definitely want to use the olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. You can just use olive oil if you prefer. Once melted/heated, add the onions and stir until they get a nice glossy finish to them and are well-coated in the oil and butter.
You don’t have to babysit these onions, but you do want to give them a stir every few minutes to keep them from burning. There is a big difference from caramelized onions and burnt onions. However, you want them to sit on the heat as well, or they will take a long time to caramelize. You know you are on the right track when they start to get golden, like below, but don’t stop here! After 10 minutes of caramelizing, add the 1 tsp of sugar and stir it in well. This will help with the caramelization.
Caramelizing onions can take a while (usually 20-30 minutes), so be patient! When you see that majority of the onions are a dark, golden, brown color, like below, you know you are just about finished! Add the minced clove of garlic and sauté for about 2 more minutes.
While you’re caramelizing the onions and trying to not babysit and/or stress over them… Go ahead and make your croutons! All we do is buy a small french baguette and cut it into slices. Then rub each side with olive oil and sprinkle a little garlic powder on top and pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until each side is nice and golden.
Once your onions are caramelized and you have added your garlic, you can add just about everything else: 4 cups of beef stock (not broth), 1 whole bay leaf, 1/4 tsp of dried Thyme, and 2 beef bouillon cubes. Give everything a good stir and then cover partially and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
Pull out the croutons and admire their deliciousness. 🙂
Now, we serve our French Onion Soup in these adorable soup crocks. They work perfectly for this recipe because you cover the entire bowl with cheese. However they aren’t a necessity, and since I’m not one to encourage extra spending where it’s not necessary, I think a normal sized bowl with a little extra cheese would be just as perfect.
Simply place your crouton in the center, ladle your soup on top with plenty of onions, and then cover with a big ol’ slice of Swiss cheese. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top to add a delicious crust-like texture.
Pop it into your broiler at 500 degrees for just a few minutes. You just need the cheese to melt and the parmesan to turn golden, like below. Don’t burn it!
And it’s that simple! And let me tell you–it’s delicious! Here’s the printable recipe card to make it easier for you. 🙂