Part 2 of our Fall Party is calling for French Onion Soup, hey, hey, heyyyyy! The best French Onion Soup has sweet caramelized onions, a rich, balanced broth, and gooey nutty cheese. Read on to see how we accomplish it!
I don’t know about you guys, but it has literally been rainy and gloomy here almost every day for the past couple weeks. I’m so sick of wiping off muddy dog paws, I’m about to just accept muddy paw prints throughout the house. But do you know what’s super awesome during cold, rainy weather? Soup! DUH! And I mean, hey, I love me a good bowl of soup, right? Case in point here, here, and here, but I love me some French Onion Soup like no other. Love, literally love.
When I decided to throw a fall party with some of my favorite ladies, I knew I was going to serve French Onion Soup before I decided anything else. If you missed Part 1: French 75s, check it out here. As a French Onion Soup lover, I’ve perfected this recipe over the years. Surprisingly, much can go wrong with this soup: bland onions, broth with no depth, mushy bread, cheese that doesn’t melt right, the list goes on.
So, let’s chat about some ways to make sure we serve the best French Onion Soup ever everrrrr, k?
We want deeply caramelized onions. This is where we get that rich, sweet flavor. This part is so important because there aren’t a ton of ingredients in French Onion Soup, you feelin me? We need the onions to shine, my friends. And when we let their natural sugars caramelize properly, shine they will! Cook them over medium-high heat, but know that burner temps vary, so watch them carefully. You want the onions to get a nice fond, but stir them before they start to burn. I always keep some water close by, adding it to the pan to deglaze if it’s starting to dry out. The whole process should take around 15–20 minutes.
I like to use a combination of chicken and beef broth. Sometimes I make my own, but other times I use Better than Bouillon when convenience calls. I always add dry sherry because I like the depth of flavor it adds. And because we are super tight bffs. Bay leaves and thyme, while optional, really aren’t optional in my book. They add an earthy flavor, which balances out the richness of the broth and cheese.
Cheese & Bread
Look, I’m a little nuts about cheese, it’s true. And I’m super nuts about the fact that French Onion Soup should contain Gruyere. In fact, my mom made an extra stop on her way to the Fall Party because I couldn’t find any damn Gruyere the day before. All I could find was Gruyere-style, and this simply would not do. Use Gruyere, K? Or you’ll make me sad. Slice that Gruyere instead of shredding it. Why? Sliced cheese makes for gooier spoonfuls. Trust me on this one.
Next, use a good French loaf from your favorite bakery. If you’re going for a classic cheese oozing over the bowl presentation, toast slices of French bread, place on top of soup, top with slices of cheese, and broil away. Don’t care as much about the presentation? Stir slices of cheese into hot soup and serve with croutons (made from your french bread). Sometimes, I prefer this because you can decide when you add more croutons (keeping some texture and crunch).
Finally, serve that French Onion Soup with some French 75s, K? The cool, refreshing cocktail plays nicely with the warm soup. It packs a punch, so it’s not overwhelmed by the flavorful soup, and the bubbles cut through the richness of the cheese. If you have little ones joining the party, be ready to have a kid-friendly cocktail. They’ll want to partake in the fun! And without a doubt, make extra lemon twists. If your littles are anything like my nieces, they’ll want some. P.S. if your little ones like maraschino cherries, Cherry Man offers Farm-to-Market cherries that are non-gmo with no preservatives, and colored using vegetable juice instead of food coloring. Still a treat, for certain, but it makes you feel a teeny bit better when those angel eyes ask you for one more cherry for the fifth time (sorry, sissy).
Alright, this concludes part 2 of our fall party. I hope you’re having as much fun as I am!
French Onion Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 large onions or 6 medium, halved and cut pole to pole in 1/4-inch slices
- Salt & Pepper
- Water for deglazing
- 1/3 cup dry sherry
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Fresh thyme sprigs tied with kitchen twine (about 6)
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounces Gruyere sliced thinly
- French baguette sliced and toasted (or croutons)
- In a large pot, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring frequently enough to prevent burning, but leave them undisturbed for long enough that they form a nice fond. Once the onions start to color, season with salt & pepper and a pinch of sugar. If the pan starts to dry out, deglaze with small amounts of water (about 1/4-cup at a time). Continue to cook onions until golden, about 20 minutes.
- Once caramelized, add dry sherry and cook until mostly evaporated. Add beef broth, chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
- When ready to serve, ladle into oven-proof bowls, top with toasted baguette slice, top with cheese slices, and place under broiler until cheese is bubbly. Alternatively, ladle hot soup into bowls, add cheese slices, and serve with croutons.