{Best Ever} French Onion Soup

January 6th, 2012  |  Other, Side Dishes, Soup, Veggies  |  2 Comments

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I just can't find it in my heart [stomach] to make myself a turkey sandwich on whole wheat pita bread right now.  In December, I dreamed about how good I would be come January 2 (I knew there was no hope for January 1 as I would need to consume the greasiest food possible), but I'm still struggling when it comes to meal prep and making them super light and healthy.  The good news is, I've made it to the gym 4 of the 5 last days, so not all hope is lost!

So about this BEST-EVER French onion soup.... I wanted to make a brothy soup on Christmas day and was looking at Ina's fennel onion soup but MIL thinks she might be allergic to fennel {poor unfortunate soul}, so I opted for a very traditional french onion soup recipe I had come across a while back on Saveur.com.  Oh my heavens...it was the best, most satisfying soup I think I've ever made.  I made only a few modifications to their recipe...mostly in the topping by chopping up bread cubes [I hate trying to break off a piece of a large piece of bread that's been all covered with cheese with my spoon] and toasting them with herbes de provence and cutting the cheese in half [not sacrilege---it seriously doesn't need all the cheese the recipe called for] and it was so gratifying and delicious....and for the FIRST time in my life, I did not singe my tongue by diving in too early!

This recipe is going to be one of my new standbys....especially when having guests over because almost all of the prep work can be done ahead [even the day before] and then the soups can be assembled and broiled a few minutes before serving.  I can't wait to make this again and I suggest you make it part of your dinner plan next week too.   It would be perfect paired with a simple dinner salad.


1 cup white wine
1⁄2 cup plus 3 tbsp. sherry
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped [or 1 teaspoon dried]
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves  [or 1 teaspoon dried thyme]
2 fresh bay leaves
2 quarts beef stock (that's 8 cups for all you non-mathematicians out there)

french baguette {or other rustic bread} cut into 1" cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon herbs d provence
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated gruyère cheese
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 425° on Convection Bake setting.

Combine wine, 1⁄2 cup of the sherry, 8 tablespoons of the butter, sugar, onions, and salt and pepper in a 9" × 13" casserole dish and braise, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions just begin to brown, 40–45 minutes.  Remove casserole from oven, cover with foil, and continue braising in oven, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 1 hour more. Keep the onions warm.

Meanwhile, add parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with beef stock into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.  Stir in remaining sherry and cook for 5 minutes more.

Stir in onions and allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes while you begin preparing your bread cubes.

Cut bread slices into 1" cubes. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add bread cubes and sprinkle with herbes de provence, salt and pepper. Toast bread until evenly toasted on most sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

When ready to assemble, turn oven to Convection Broil setting at 550 degrees and adjust top rack so that your soup bowls will be 6" inches from the top heating element.  Arrange 6 heatproof bowls on a foil-lined sheet tray, ladle soup between bowls being sure to evenly distribute the onions and broth between the bowls. Place a handful of bread cubes into each bowl; top each with about 1/3 cup gruyère and about 2 tablespoons parmesan.

Place tray into oven and broil until cheeses are browned and bubbly, 3–4 minutes. Serve immediately, but blow-blow-blow on your first bite so you don't ruin the whole experience with a burnt tongue!

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