I'm taking a small coffee break from all of my Christmas cooking to share with you THE recipe for French Onion Soup that I have FINALLY perfected. The first time I had this soup was a year-and-a-half ago at the White House Grill. WOW! Was I amazed, and knew I had to recreate this. The chef refused to share the recipe with me, even though I promised never to sell it for any $. So I have made French Onion Soup after French Onion Soup, much to the chagrin of my family, to make it perfect. I have tried many recipes and tweaked many recipes. I tried it with white wine and red wine. I tried it with only beef broth, and a mix of beef and chicken broth. I tried it with vermouth, and other white wines. I tried thickly sliced onions, and thinly sliced onions. I tried only cooking the onions on the stovetop, and slow roasting them in the oven. I tried different proportions of onions to broth. I tried different cheeses...from Swiss, to Gruyere (no), to others. The skeleton for my recipe is from Julia Child, but I adjusted it and changed it up as I desired. And AT LAST...I have it perfected...so here it is.
By the way, French Onion Soup is quite easy and inexpensive to make. So don't be scared off by my going's ons, or by the fact that it is French.
French Onion Soup
*3-4 yellow onions (not Vidalia, and not White), ends cut off, peeled, quartered, quartered again, and thinly sliced 1/4 inch thick...enough to equal five cups.
*3 Tbsp. butter
*1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp. sugar
*3 Tbsp. flour
* 1 1/2 cans of reduced sodium beef broth
* 1 quart homemade chicken stock
* 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup Chardonay
*salt and pepper
* 5 sprigs of fresh thyme tied together with cooking string (no dried thyme, please)
* Loaf of GOOD QUALITY French or Artisan Bread (DO NOT go cheapy on this! I have a recipe if you so desire to make your own!)
* Olive oil
* Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
*Swiss cheese, thinly sliced.
Butter the inside of an enamel pot. Place on stove and add 3 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil and melt. Add onions to pot and cook, covered, over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring semi occasionally. Uncover, and stir in salt and sugar. Cook uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions have turned a brown color and are greatly reduced.
Sprinkle in flour and stir for 3 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and beef stock and wine. Add 1/4 tsp. salt and bouquet of thyme. Simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes. Taste periodically and add more beef broth a 1/2 cup at a time and more wine 1/4 cup at a time if it needs more depth and richness. Add more salt if necessary. Add pepper. Discard thyme. Set aside until ready to serve, then reheat to the simmer.
Meanwhile, prepare croutons. Slice bread and cut into 1 inch chunks. Spread bread cubes over a baking pan and toss with a little bit of olive oil. Bake or broil until kind of crispy, tossing occasionally.
When ready to serve soup, turn on the broiler, and using a ladle to pour simmering soup into broiler safe bowls or tourreens, leaving about 1/2 inch of room or more at top. Cover soup with a layer of toasted bread cubes, and place one slice of provolone, and one slice of swiss cheese over each bowl. (It helps to have bowls sitting on a baking sheet). Put baking sheet with bowls on it under the broiler, and broil until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Serve immediately, and enjoy!