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French Onion Soup

I make this fairly often, but looking for any recipes that may take it to another level. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

Ronald Reagan


  • paqman
    paqman Posts: 4,613
    I’ve been making this recipe ever since the book was released, it is delicious:  https://ruhlman.com/in-love-with-french-onion-soup/

    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • HeavyG
    HeavyG Posts: 10,159
    edited August 27
    I've used the ATK recipe for many years. I like their oven method for browning the onions.
    Of course I have no idea if this recipe is any better than yours but here's the text from a pdf I saved many years ago:

    Best French Onion Soup Recipe

    From America's Test Kitchen Season 9: French Classics, Reimagined

    Why this recipe works:

    With too many onion soups, digging through a layer of congealed cheese unearths a disappointing broth that just doesn’t taste like onions. The ideal French onion soup combines a satisfying broth redolent of sweet caramelized onions with a slice of toasted baguette and melted cheese. We wanted a foolproof method for achieving extraordinarily deep flavor from the humble onion—the star of this classic soup.

    The secret to a rich broth was to caramelize the onions fully. The good news is that caramelizing the onions, deglazing the pot, and then repeating this process dozens of times will keep ratcheting up the flavor. The bad news is what a laborious, hands-on process this proved to be. Fortunately, we found that if we first cooked the onions covered in a hot oven for two and a half hours, we only needed to deglaze the onions on the stovetop three or four times. Just one type of onion (yellow) was sufficient, but a combination of three different liquids (water, chicken broth, and beef broth) added maximum flavor. For the topping, we toasted the bread before floating it on the soup to ward off sogginess and added only a modest sprinkling of nutty Gruyère so the broth wasn’t overpowered.

    Hide Video X

    1 of 5 1/11/13 1:08 PM

    Best French Onion Soup Recipe — www.americastestkitchen.c... 

    In Queue: Best French Onion Soup

    Watch This Recipe

    Most versions of this age-old recipe hide a mediocre broth under a crust of bread and a blanket of Gruyere. What is the secret to coaxing impressive flavor out of humble onions?

    Watch the Video

    Ingredients Soup

    3tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
    6large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see illustration below)
    Table salt
    2cups water, plus extra for deglazing
    1/2cup dry sherry
    4cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
    2cups beef broth (see note)
    6sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
    1 bay leaf
    Ground black pepper

    Cheese Croutons

    1small baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
    8ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)


    1. For the soup: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray inside of heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot.

    2 of 5 1/11/13 1:08 PM

    Best French Onion Soup Recipe — www.americastestkitchen.c... 

    Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.

    2. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.

    3. Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.

    4. For the croutons: While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

    5. To serve: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.


    Golden Onions Without the Fuss

    Forget constant stirring on the stovetop. Cooking onions in the oven takes time but requires little attention.

    1. RAW: The raw onions nearly fill a large Dutch oven.

    2. AFTER 1 HOUR IN OVEN : The onions are starting to wilt and release moisture.

    3. AFTER 2 1/2 HOURS IN OVEN : The onions are golden, wilted, and significantly reduced in volume.


    Triple Deglaze

    Most recipes for French onion soup call for deglazing-—loosening the flavorful dark brown crust, or fond, that forms on the bottom of the pot-only once, if at all. The secret to our recipe is to deglaze the pot at least three times.


    Slicing Onions

    Slicing against the grain results in cooked onions with a lifeless, stringy texture. Onions that are cut pole to pole maintain their shape during the soup's long cooking process.

    Halve onion pole to pole, cut off root end of onion, then peel. Place flat side of onion on work surface, then slice from pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ― Philip K. Diçk

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  • OhioEgger
    OhioEgger Posts: 891
    Absolutely one of my favorite soups. Hadn't seen the ATK version before, so I'll be trying it.
    I've tried many recipes, but I always seem to come back to Julia Child's version.


    • 5-6 Cups Yellow Onions, sliced thin
    • 1/2 Yellow Onion, raw
    • Olive Oil, 4 Tbsp
    • French Bread, about 8 slices
    • Cognac, 2-3 Tbsp (optional)
    • Parmesan Cheese, 4 ounces
    • Swiss Cheese, Grated, about 12 ounces
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Sage, Ground, 1/2 tsp
    • Bay Leaf, 1 leaf
    • White Wine, 1 cup
    • Beef Stock, 6 cups
    • Flour, 3 Tbsp
    • Sugar, 1/2 tsp
    • Butter, 2 Tbsp
    • Cooking Oil, 1 Tbsp

    Cooking Instructions:

    Heat a heavy, oven-safe, stock pot over medium-low heat and add the cooking oil once the pot is hot. Melt the butter into the hot oil.  Stir the sliced onions into the oil/butter mix, ensuring they are evenly coated. Cover the stock pot and cook for around 20 minutes checking to make sure they aren’t burning. Onions should be clear and very tender once finished. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and add the sugar and 1tsp salt. Continue cooking while stirring until onions are thoroughly browned (caramelized).

    Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 3 Tbsp flour. Cook 2-3 minutes until flour forms a thick paste (add more butter if needed).  Stir in 1 cup of beef stock, and stir heavily for a couple seconds.

    Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

    Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Drizzle both sides of french bread slices with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Cook the bread in the oven for 15 minutes on each side.

    Taste soup, and add salt and pepper as needed, then remove the bay leaf.

    Add cognac, and grate the 1/2 raw onion into the soup. Add a little bit of the swiss cheese to the soup, preserving most of it for the top. Cover the soup mixture with the bread, forming a single layer bread top. Sprinkle the rest of the Swiss cheese over the top of the bread, forming a thick layer. Drizzle melted butter or oil over the cheese, and place the pot into the oven uncovered. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Turn the broiler on and brown the cheese.

    Remove pot from oven and let stand to cool. Serve up to some lucky guests and enjoy all the kudos you receive.

    Cincinnati, Ohio. Large BGE since 2011. Still learning.
  • northGAcock
    northGAcock Posts: 15,152
    I have made French Onion Soup many times, especially during Vidalia Onion season here in GA. I am curious about the cheese topping others use as I have always used a high quality Swiss Cheese along with Parmesan. I have seen (other recipes) where provolone is also used. Personally, I love the Swiss and it melts nicely. What have been your favorite cheese toppings? P
    Ellijay GA with a Medium & MiniMax

    Well, I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life,
    Run me out in the cold rain and snow
  • Botch
    Botch Posts: 15,111
    I've used Gruyere, sometimes smoked.  

    "Not really interested in a sequel; don't want to chew my tobacco but once"

         - Dolly Parton

  • Langner91
    Langner91 Posts: 2,117
    I like mozzarella, personally.  Provolone would be my second choice.  I haven't tried Gruyere, but I am sure it would be great.

    Clinton, Iowa
  • fishlessman
    fishlessman Posts: 32,250
    i do the slow stove top thing, i dont need to cook the onions faster, just leave me alone by the stove and im good. a little sherry added, a splash of cognac from a nip towards the and alls good.  i use a mix of onions, red, vidalia browned up stove top, whole roasted cipollinis from the oven added last before the crouton and cheese. my recipe is at the camp, bone broth from the jar is good, but made from bones is better. follow a broth recipe for pho but step up the heat( a clear broth is not needed for this. the sherry and cognac is an odd variable, add more if its for today, add less if its for a reheat for tomorrow, it seems to intensify with storage
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • Dawgtired
    Dawgtired Posts: 625
    Thank y’all for all the responses. I did caramelize the onions using the ATK version listed above. It’s the first time I’ve actually made onions that were correctly done. Soup was a little bitter, but smoothed out nicely with a pinch of salt and sugar. 

    If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

    Ronald Reagan

  • Ozzie_Isaac
    Ozzie_Isaac Posts: 18,384
    Here is my current recipe I follow:

    “I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions.”
    ― George Carlin
  • hondabbq
    hondabbq Posts: 1,975
    I love me some classic French Onion Soup. I always have some on hand in the freezer in a tupperware container for 2. 

    I agree with the multiple deglazing technique as a basic start to the soup. I was taught from a few chefs over the years, to do a few different things and have used them all into a final version I, and many many enjoy. 

    The 2 simple additions are using a Demi Glace for about 1/2 of the body of the soup. This makes the soup unbelievably rich and flavorful. 
    Also, the addition of caraway seeds. I add some to the onions and sort of let them cook out and release their flavor prior to adding any broth or demi. It may sound weird, but trust me it adds a secondary note to the broth which elevates it even more. 
    CtTOPGUN Posts: 610
    I use recipe close to the ATK one. But I use port wine instead of sherry or cognac. I do believe good broth combination of chicken and beef to be better than beef alone.
    LBGE/Weber Kettle/Blackstone 36" Griddle/Turkey Fryer/Induction Burner/Royal Gourmet 24" Griddle/Cuisinart Twin Oaks/Pit Boss Tabletop pellet smoker/Instant Pot

     BBQ from the State of Connecticut!

  • Legume
    Legume Posts: 14,397
    I think it was an English chef that said for it to be true French onion soup, you need to cook the onions until they surrender.
  • Dawgtired
    Dawgtired Posts: 625
    Legume said:
    I think it was an English chef that said for it to be true French onion soup, you need to cook the onions until they surrender.

    If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.

    Ronald Reagan