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Classic French Onion Soup

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Classic French Onion Soup

The Cozy Charm of French Onion Soup

Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡ I sure am! In fact, I just returned from a delightful week in Provence with my family, and amidst the most delectable meals we shared around the table in our little cottage, I channeled my inner Julia Child and simmered up a batch of my favorite French onion soup. And let me tell you, it was nothing short of divine.

You see, French onion soup has long been one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. There’s just something about that rich, caramelized onion broth, the crispy cheesy toast floating on top, and the perfectly gooey, melted cheese that instantly transports me to a quaint Parisian bistro. It’s the kind of dish that warms the soul and brings people together, no matter the occasion.

Now, I first shared this classic French onion soup recipe on my blog Home Cooking Rocks about ten years ago, and I’ve been making it countless times since. Over the years, I’ve experimented with all sorts of twists and variations, like using vegetable broth instead of the traditional beef to make it veggie-friendly, or even cracking a soft-poached egg on top à la the Spanish style. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like the pure, unadulterated joy of a perfectly executed classic French onion soup.

The Art of Caramelized Onions

The key to making a truly exceptional French onion soup lies in the caramelization of the onions. This is a simple but time-consuming process, and it requires a good deal of patience and attention. But trust me, it’s so worth it in the end!

To start, you’ll need to transform that big pile of raw onions into the most decadent, sweet, and irresistibly caramelized onions that will form the rich base of this recipe. Now, caramelization might sound like a fancy culinary technique, but it’s actually pretty straightforward.

Simply melt some butter in a large stockpot over medium heat, add your onions, and toss them to coat. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to turn a beautiful golden brown on the bottom. Then, continue this rhythm of stirring every 3-5 minutes initially, and every 1-2 minutes towards the end, until the onions have transformed into a rich chestnut color.

Anytime the onions look like they’re starting to burn on the bottom of the pan, just add a splash of wine or water and use a wooden spoon to scrape up those browned bits. This will help to deglaze the pan and infuse even more flavor into your soup.

Once your onions are perfectly caramelized and ready to go, it’s time to start building the rest of that cozy French onion soup magic.

Building the Flavor Fortress

With your caramelized onions as the foundation, the next step is to add in the broth, seasonings, and other key ingredients that will transform this dish into a flavor fortress worthy of any Parisian bistro.

First, you’ll want to stir in a half cup of dry white wine to fully deglaze the bottom of the pan and incorporate all of those browned, caramelized bits. Then, pour in your beef or vegetable broth (depending on your preference), and let the whole mixture simmer away for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the broth to reduce and intensify.

Next, it’s time to season things up. A bay leaf, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper are all you need to round out the flavor profile and bring this soup to new heights of deliciousness.

Now, the final touch – the cheesy toast that crowns each bowl of French onion soup. This is where the magic really happens, as the crispy bread soaks up all of that rich, savory broth, and the melted cheese on top becomes an irresistible layer of gooey goodness.

Gimme Some Oven has a fantastic recipe that perfectly captures the essence of classic French onion soup, and I can vouch that it’s a true keeper. So if you’re looking to add this comforting classic to your repertoire, definitely give this one a try.

Customizing Your Cozy Concoction

Of course, one of the joys of French onion soup is that it’s endlessly customizable to suit your personal preferences. For example, you could experiment with different types of cheese, like gruyère, emmental, or even a blend. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could take a page from the Spanish playbook and crack a soft-poached egg into each bowl, then broil it until the yolk is perfectly runny.

And if you’re in the mood for some delightful side dishes to accompany your soup, might I suggest a fresh, crisp salad with a light vinaigrette, or perhaps some crusty bread for dipping? Or, if you’re really feeling indulgent, you could whip up a batch of Weekend at the Cottage’s decadent gruyère and parmesan baked potato wedges to serve alongside.

No matter how you choose to enjoy it, one thing is certain: classic French onion soup is a dish that will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s a comforting reminder of the joys of home cooking, the beauty of simplicity, and the power of food to bring people together. So grab a spoon, dive in, and let the cozy warmth of this timeless classic transport you to the heart of France.

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