The Meal Planner

Onions have been really inexpensive this fall and I keep stocking up on them since they are useful in almost every recipe. While I am not a huge fan of onions, I don't cook without them since there would be a void left in most recipes without them. It's mostly just the crunchy texture of them that I'm not okay with, so I soften my onions quite a bit before adding other ingredients. I'm not sure what prompted me this week to make French Onion Soup for food? melted cheese? Whatever it was, I decided I was going to make it and discovered this recipe over at Simply Recipes. I only changed a couple things to keep the recipe inexpensive and to accommodate what I had on hand.

Recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes
Serves 6-8

6 onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups of beef stock or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
Salt and pepper
8 slices of toasted French bread
1 1/2 cups of grated mozzarella

The deep flavor of French onion soup comes from caramelizing the onions. You have to have patience with this step; you can't skip it or speed it up. In a large pot, heat a good amount of olive oil over medium-high heat then add the onions. It will take approximately 30 minutes to get the onions a nice deep brown color. Keep stirring them occasionally, don't let them burn. Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the browning.

Once the onions are soft and a deep caramel color, add the garlic and saute for about a minute. Then add the stock, bay leaf and thyme. Turn the heat down to a simmer and put a lid on the pot so it is partially covered. Simmer for about 30 minutes. You'll notice the longer you simmer, the flavors become more developed and the color of the soup with deepen. Season to taste with salt and pepper and throw out the bay leaf.

When you are ready to eat, heat your oven to broil. Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls, top with a piece of toasted bread and sprinkle with a good amount of cheese. Put into broiler until the cheese is nice and golden brown.

Click here for printable version of French Onion Soup


Pretty good. The cheese and crouton on top really makes this soup delicious and filling. I didn't think my 16 month old would enjoy this soup, but I was wrong. She gobbled it up. It's always nice when the whole family can enjoy a meal together. As much as we thought it was good, I'm not sure I would make it again. My husband and I were both on the fence about it: take it or leave it was our attitude. I don't want to put you off from trying this recipe because Elise did a fabulous job....I just think my husband was missing the "meat" portion of this meal, and I am not a huge fan of onions to begin with, so one bowl once a year is fine with me :)

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5 Responses
  1. Isn't this supposed to be a vegetarian soup? Or is it mislabeled? It can't be vegetarian if it has a beef or chicken stock. My mouth was watering in anticipation of a good vegetarian French Onion Soup recipe. Oh well.

  2. Sorry about that Mary Poppins in Heels. I was probably thinking of writing "use vegetable stock if vegetarian" and then didn't. Have you ever tried substituting veggie stock in French Onion Soup. Does it give the same richness?

  3. Ah, that makes much more sense! Actually, I've been looking for a vegetarian recipe for French Onion Soup, but don't know how to keep the richness a beef stock gives it. Vegetable stock seems to have a "thin" taste. There must be a way to do it, and make it delicious, sans the beef, yes?

  4. This is just a thought: The last time I cooked with dried porcini mushrooms, I had to pour boiling water over them to let them soften and steep for about 30 minutes. When I was done I used the mushrooms and later used the porcini water as a flavoring for the sauce. I couldn't get over the intense rich flavor! I bet that would be a great addition to vegetable stock to give it a "beefy" taste.

  5. Wow! There is a reason you get the big bucks--what a great idea! I can't wait to try it. My mouth is watering! Thanks!