It’s Sunday night, and I am really looking forward to making this French onion soup all week long.
I really can’t think of anything better than a big bowl of French onion soup on a cold fall night. It’s hearty, rich, and totally satisfying.
In order to make this the “ultimate” French onion soup, I started with a homemade beef stock. It’s actually very simple, but it takes a bit of time. The beef bones must get blanched first in boiling water. Then, the bones are added to fresh water and simmered. The key to a good stock is to never let the liquid boil. Keep the heat extremely low and allow the water to just barely bubble.
Vegetables, herbs, and spices are added to flavor the stock. It cooks for just about another hour before getting strained. I usually like to make this over the weekend, cool it down, and use it during the week to make the French onion soup.
So, once the beef stock is taken care of, it’s time to think about the onions. They need to cook low and slow in order to become completely caramelized. Sherry wine, the beef stock, herbs, and lots of salt is all you need to turn this into an absolutely amazing French onion soup.
Oh, and the most important part: the cheese. Gruyere cheese on top of sliced baguette, melted until bubbling and slightly crisp on the edges (those crisp edges of cheese are the best part).
This French onion soup will warm any cold night, and you even might have enough for leftovers the next day.
- 2 lbs beef bones
- 2 oz onions, roughly chopped
- 2 oz carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 oz celery, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 lbs thinly sliced onions
- 1 cup sherry wine
- 2 qts beef stock
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 french baguette, thinly sliced
- 8 oz gruyere cheese
- salt, as needed
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beef bones and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain the water and reserve the bones. Wipe out the pot and pour in 4 quarts of water. Add the beef bones. Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5 hours, making sure it does not come to a boil. After 5 hours, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic cloves, parsley, and black peppercorns. Simmer for 1 more hour. Strain the stock and reserve for the soup.
- Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-bottom pot (I use my Le Creuset) over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt. Add all of the onions and stir to coat. Season with salt. Let the onions sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook the onions until they are brown and caramelized, about 45 minutes to an hour. Deglaze the pan with the sherry wine. Stir well and let simmer for a minute or so. Add the beef stock, fresh thyme, and bay leaves. Let the soup come to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to broil on high. Season the soup to taste (you need a generous amount of salt to bring out all of the flavors). Remove the bay leaves.
- Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls. Place 2 slices of bread on top of each bowl of soup. Mound the gruyere cheese on top of the bread. Place the soup bowls onto a sheet pan and place in the oven. Let the cheese melt and brown, about 1 minute. Garnish the soups with fresh thyme leaves. Serve immediately.