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Easy French Onion Soup

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If you’re a fan of French onion soup and have made it at home before, you’ll probably notice two things immediately. 

1. We use white wine instead of red wine—or sherry.

2. We use a combo of chicken stock + beef stock.

The results are a slightly sweeter, but just as addictive take on the classic. If you have a little extra time, you can deepen the flavor by allowing the soup to simmer another 15 minutes. To finish, simply ladle the soup into ramekins, top each serving with bread, and melt the cheese right on top of the soup, under the broiler. The top gets super crispy and bubbly, and the bottom softens slightly, making it easy to dig into. French onion soup is simple but there are a few things to consider that can help you nail it.

Which onions are best for French onion soup?
The classic French method calls for yellow onions but what’s truly important is how you slice them. It’s important that the onions cook and caramelize evenly, so you’ll need even slices. To achieve even slices, remove the top and bottom of the onion, halve from root to stem, peel, and cut each half into vertical 1/4″ thick slices. Slicing too thin will lead to mushy, overcooked, or burnt onions.

How to avoid bitter French onion soup?

Speaking of burnt onions, they are the main culprit when it comes to bitterness. Keep an eye on the onions as they cook and lower the heat if necessary to keep them from burning instead of caramelizing. 

How do I thicken French onion soup?
There are a few ways to thicken soup. The most common choice is flour but you can also use potato starch or corn starch. Whisk 2 tbsp of flour, cornstarch, or potato starch with 1/4 cup of the soup liquid and add it to the soup base. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened.

Can I use something other than white wine in French onion soup?

White wine brings a sweetness that intensifies the sweetness in the onions but there are other wines you can use to achieve a similar effect. Brandy, dry vermouth, sweet red wine, or marsala also make for a richly flavored soup.

How do you keep the bread from sinking in French onion soup?

A full ramekin is the key to cheesy bread that stays at the top of your soup. If the bread starts to sink, try adding more onions to keep the bread afloat. When there isn’t enough liquid to support the bread, it will sink under the weight of the cheese. 

What do you eat with French onion soup?

Salads and sandwiches always make great soup sidekicks. You can stick with the classics like chicken caesar salad or a club sandwich or get creative with a garlic-herb wedge salad or a fully-loaded veggie sandwich!

Store leftover soup without bread and cheese in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Editor’s Note: The introduction to this recipe was updated on June 30, 2022, to include more information about the dish.

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Yields:

4


servings

Prep Time:

0

hours

10

mins

Total Time:

1

hour

5

mins

3


large yellow onions, thinly sliced into half moons

2
tbsp.

all-purpose flour

Freshly ground black pepper

2
c.

low-sodium chicken stock

4
c.

low-sodium beef stock

8


sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for serving

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  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply golden, about 25 minutes. Add flour and cook 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and let simmer until evaporated, 3 minutes. Add stocks and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove thyme. 
  2. Preheat broiler to high. Ladle soups into heat safe ramekins and top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Broil until bubbling and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. 
  3.  Top with thyme to serve.  

Parker Feierbach

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