It was Day 2 of Boyfriend’s proposed “meatless” week and I was at a loss of what to cook. The only meatless items in our fridge were half a bag of salad mix, a bunch of onions, an apple, and about 8 different types of cheese (I’m semi-lactose-intolerant, but I gladly choose deliciousness over digestive stability).
Since I decided an apple and cheese plate didn’t make for a balanced dinner, I opted for french onion soup. Nevermind that it calls for 6 cups of BEEF broth—I figure meat in liquid form doesn’t really count.
French onion soup is super, super easy to cook, but keep in mind that it does take time to sweat the onions, so plan ahead. Skip to the end of the post for the recipe. The play-by-play is below.
Take 4 onions and slice very, very thinly. Keep in mind that the thinner you cut, the quicker they will cook. If you have a mandoline, now’s the time to use it.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a heavy sauce pan on medium heat and drop in the onions. Add a couple pinches of salt. Let the onions cook down, stirring frequently until they are golden-brown (they should be slightly darker than the picture below). This should take around 45-50 minutes. Sprinkle 3 tablespoon of flour over the onions and stir until incorporated. Let cook for about 3 more minutes. Onion mixture should be thickened slightly.
Add in a couple of splashes of cognac and let cook for about 1 minute.
Slowly add in 5 cups of beef broth (I recommend homemade).
Meanwhile, tie together a bunch of thyme using poultry string.
Plop in the herbs and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce heat and let simmer. Add salt + pepper to taste.
As the soup simmers, cut several baguette slices and top with grated gruyere. Broil the bread until the cheese is melted and bubbly, this should only take a few minutes.
Serve your soup with the baguette on top for dunking. If you want a more cheesy, gooey soup, you can place the baguette on the bottom and ladle the soup over it.
French Onion Soup (makes about 4-5 dinner servings)
4 large onions, sliced very thin
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cognac
5 cups beef broth
4-5 sprigs of thyme, tied with poultry thread
1 baguette, sliced
3/4 cup grated gruyere
salt + pepper
Melt 3 tablespoons in a large, heavy saucepan on medium heat. Add in onions cook until golden-brown, stirring frequently, about 45 minutes. Add in 2 tablespoons flour, stir, and cook for 3 more minutes. Add in cognac and cook until alcohol cooks out, about 1 minute. Slowly add in 5 cups of beef broth. Drop in thyme and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the toast.
Place baguette slices on baking tray and top with gruyere. Place 4-5 inches from broiler and cook until cheese is golden and bubbly, 2-3 minutes. Discard thyme from soup and serve in warmed ramekins with gruyere toast.