This recipe came from slow traveler Sharon L from Silicon Valley, California. It's an easy and delicious version of this classic soup. It takes a while to brown the onions but you don't really have to stir every single minute or watch them that closely.
I made this with chicken instead of beef broth, and it was fine. I also skipped the bread and some of the cheese to lighten it up some. Recipe and my modifications are below.
I love onions and eat them almost everyday, but most of the time they are used as a backdrop to something else. I'd forgotten how good they are when they are front and center. I read recently that there's some evidence that onions may be beneficial to women in preventing osteoporosis bone loss and that's good to know.
French Onion Soup
2 lbs. yellow onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, then sliced thinly crosswise
2 Tbsps. oil
2 Tbsps. butter
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf or 2 fresh bay leaves
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. sugar
2 tsps. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¾ C. dry white wine (or red wine)
6 C reduced-sodium beef broth (48 fl oz.)
6 diagonal slices of baguette
½ lb. shredded Gruyère (or Comte or Emmental) cheese
2 Tbsps. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
Heat butter and oil in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot. Add onions, thyme, bay leaves, sugar and salt. Stirring frequently, cook onions over moderate heat until they are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Add flour and pepper, and stir for 2 minutes. Add wine and stir for 2 more minutes. Add broth and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
While soup simmers, preheat oven to 350°F.
Arrange bread in 1 layer on a baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove croutons from oven and preheat broiler. Put heat-proof soup bowls in a shallow baking pan.
Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among bowls, then put a crouton in each. Add enough shredded Gruyère to cover crouton, then sprinkle each with Parmigiano-Reggiano (if using).
Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Make ahead: Soup can be made and refrigerated or frozen (of course, do not add croutons and cheese to soup if making ahead); cool soup completely, uncovered, then refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze. Reheat soup before proceeding with recipe.
Makes 6 servings
I skipped the crouton and most of the cheese and just put a little bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano on the top.
I used chicken broth and decreased the amount from 6 cups to 4 cups. I added some garlic, fresh sage leaves, and a splash of Worchestershire sauce.