French Onion Soup

So here’s the deal – the longer I blog, the more I look back at my old posts and cringe.  The pictures were bad, and so was the commentary.  But, a lot of the recipes I blogged about in the beginning are still great recipes and they deserve your attention.  This is why I have slowly started updating old posts for recipes I think are worthy of a second go-round.  French onion soup is a perfect example.  It’s a wonderfully comforting classic dish and I think everyone should have a good recipe for it, but my old post may have sent people running in the other direction.

I’ve played around with the recipe a bit since my original post, to combine aspects of two recipes into my own version of this soup.  This rendition uses the traditional caramelized onions as well as leeks for an extra dimension of flavor.  The liquid base is a mixture of chicken and beef broths enhanced with red wine.  And of course, one of the very best things about French onion soup is the baguette slices with melted Gruyere on top.  My favorite thing about this soup is how thick it is, rather than primarily broth with the occasional bite of caramelized onion.  Paired with a nice salad, this makes a lovely lunch or dinner.  It also makes great leftovers!

French Onion Soup
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Ingredients:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
2 leeks, including tender green portions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup low-sodium beef broth
¼ cup dry red wine
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
Baguette slices, ¾-inch thick
Sliced Gruyere cheese

Directions:
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add in the sliced red onions, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have wilted.  Mix in the sugar and leeks and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are completely caramelized and dark in color (about 15 more minutes).  Add the garlic to the pot and sauté just until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in the chicken and beef broths and red wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer about 30 minutes.  Discard the herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the broiler with an oven rack in the upper-middle position.  Portion the soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks placed on a baking sheet.  Top each serving with two baguette slices, and layer with thin slices of Gruyere cheese.  Place under the broiler until the cheese is browned and bubbly, 2-5 minutes.  Cool a few minutes before serving.

Serves 3-4.

Source: adapted from Williams Sonoma and The New Best Recipe

14 Responses

  1. My husband LOVES french onion soup….I really need to give it a try!! I have always been a little intimidated, but it seems easy enough. Thanks!!

  2. Weird! This didn’t come up on my RSS feed today! Glad I clicked over anyway. 🙂 The picture is PERFECTION! Looks awesome, Annie!

  3. I haven’t made this in years. Haven’t ever had it at a restaurant b/c of the beef broth but loved it at home with a veggie broth! Will be sure to try this soon! YUM!!!!

  4. I wanted to drop a line and tell you how much I admire Annie’s Eats. The recipes are all so up my alley, the food writing is great, the website is lovely, and the photography consistently makes me salivate. 🙂 You’re really inspiring me to try out some new things in the kitchen. So – thank you for all the work that goes into Annie’s Eats! I only discovered in a few weeks ago, and it’s quickly become my hands-down-favorite food blog!

  5. Oh, I love this! I have tried a couple of recipes for this that I was not pleased with so will be trying yours! The beef and chicken broth with the wine sounds like a good combo! Thanks!

  6. I haven’t had this since my bff made it when we lived together – always with the bread/cheese on top! Maybe I should give it a whirl!

  7. Too funny! I just made this, too. So yummy!
    http://yardtofork.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/french-onion-soup/

  8. It looks so good, but you made me miss my Daddy. He makes the best french onion soup I’ve ever had. Not that I’m biased or anthing. His has the toasted bread and cheese in the bottom of the bowl with the soup, heavy on the onions, spooned over it.

  9. This looks amazing! Do you have any suggestions for non-alcoholic replacements for the wine? I never know what to substitute.

    • Hi Debbie,
      I would probably just omit it entirely. It will still taste great, the wine just adds another dimension of flavor.

  10. I feel the same way about my old posts. Ugh. Your photography is great now, though!

  11. I’ve been thinking about redoing some embarrassing old posts, as well. This soup looks so tasty!

  12. The great thing about looking back is realising how much you’ve learned. These pics make the soup look amazing. I’ve never tried making French Onion Soup but always love ordering it. You make it seem very easy. Thanks.

  13. oooh this looks lovely. I have been loking for a good onion soup recipe so this might be it!

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