I hesitated at first to call this French onion soup, but then I thought, why not? It’s a matter of taste, not technique, and I will always choose a method that gives me delicious soup with little fuss. This version of French onion soup is very easy to make; it’s really quite exciting, to think that a nice onion soup can be a quick dinner and still have the feel of a fancy meal that’s been fussed over for hours. The key is having your onions pre-caramelized, but luckily we know how to do that in a slow cooker now, so it’s no trouble at all. Once you have your onions ready to go, the most difficult thing left to do is wait for the cheese to be brown enough to take the bowl out from under the broiler.
Easy French Onion Soup (serves 4)
- 1 2/3 c. caramelized onions (recipe here)
- 1/3 c. dry red wine
- 4 c. beef broth, the best you can get
- 1 large sprig of fresh thyme
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. salt, depending on how seasoned your onions are
- ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 slices of crusty French baguette
- 2/3- 1 c. Gruyere cheese, shredded
To a Dutch oven or stock pot, add the caramelized onions and begin to warm over medium-high heat, stirring. When the pan is hot, add the red wine and stir to mix it in to your onions and evaporate some of the alcohol, then pour in the beef broth. Add the sprig of thyme to the pan and bring to a simmering boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 15-20 mins. Remove the sprig of thyme (it’s desirable for some of the leaves to fall off/stay in the soup) and add the butter, pepper & salt, stirring until the butter has melted. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary, then add the lemon juice. Remove from the heat.
Toast your baguette pieces. Ladle the soup into four ovenproof bowls or ramekins and float a piece of toast in each bowl; distribute the shredded Gruyere evenly between the four servings. Put the bowls onto a cookie sheet or similar pan and place under the broiler for 5-8 mins., until the cheese is melted and golden brown.* Serve hot, carefully.
*If you don’t have a broiler, you can toast the baguette, put the cheese on top, toast it again and then float it in your soup.