This recipe is dedicated to my very sweet friend, whose eyes light up whenever she thinks about French Onion Soup. I never knew anyone who loved French Onion Soup as much as my friend Courtney. I know Court has been cooking a lot more now that she is an old married lady, so maybe this would be a good one for her! French Onion Soup is really one of those things that you want in the original, no muss, no fuss form. French Onion Soup is cheesy and rich so it is not an every day indulgence. If I want to eat French Onion Soup, I want it to taste like the classic. I don't want some deconstructed mess. If it's not broke...you know, why bother trying to fix it? Here is my best version of the classic. It serves 2 for a large dinner portion, or 4 for a smaller, starter portion.French Onion Soup
3 medium onions
1 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 carton beef broth
1 dark beer
1/2 loaf french bread
1/2 cup Swiss cheese (most people use Gruyere)
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper
1. Thinly slice the onions into thin half-moons. You want the onions to the thin so that they almost melt in your mouth while you are eating the soup. You don't want huge chunks.
2. Over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, and sugar and stir together.
The idea is to caramelize the onions slightly before adding your liquids so that you develop lots of flavor in the onions and so that they soften. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add beer and the beef stock to the pot.
4. Bring to a simmer and allow them to simmer together for 45 minutes to an hour so that the flavors develop and so that your onions are super tender.
5. While the soup is cooking, you want to toast up some slices of bread for your soup. Line up your bread slices on a baking tray that you spray with non-stick spray. Bake under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes per side until they are nicely browned on both sides.
6. Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls or ramekins. Make sure to get equal-ish amounts of onions and broth for everyone.
7. Top with toast. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just make it work.
8. Top the toast with 3 Tbs. each (just eyeball it if you want - more cheese never hurt anyone) of grated Swiss cheese and a 1/4 tsp. sprinkle of Parmesan.
9. Put the ramekins under the broiler for 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Keep a close eye on them once the cheese melts. They brown up quickly.
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