“I open the front door and walk headlong into
the oh so heavenly scent
of onions sautéing on the stove.”
Ode to the Onion by Susan Whelehan
I bet you can just smell that ‘heavenly scent’ as you read! Right? I just LOVE onions… I hope you have LOTS of big, beautiful Dakota Tears onions in storage! Plenty to make this recipe for French Onion Soup! You gotta try this! If you have ONLY had ‘French Onion’ soup from a mix or a can… well, you really haven’t HAD French Onion soup!
This is the very first dish I ever enjoyed in a restaurant—I think I was about six years old! I was traveling with my parents to the airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After picking up visiting relatives from the Netherlands, we all went to a restaurant—a FIRST in my young life. I had the MOST MEMORABLE bowl of French Onion Soup—complete with toast and cheese melted over the top. I have never forgotten that bowl of soup... and I finally found THE recipe that recreates that taste experience. I am so happy to share it with all of you!
O SOOoo Luscious French Onion Soup
Beef stock is traditional for this soup-- but chicken or vegetable stock can be used for a lighter fare.
- 4 Tbsps unsalted butter
- 2½ - 3 lbs Dakota Tears onions, peeled, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
- 2 tsps kosher or sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 tsps all-purpose flour
- ¾ c white wine or sherry
- 2 qts beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
- 1-2 tsps balsamic or sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
- 6 slices of heavy white bread or baguettes, thickly sliced, well toasted (1 slice per bowl) or use croutons
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced in half-- for rubbing the bread
- 3 cups grated Swiss cheese, or for a milder flavor-- use Gruyère cheese
- In a large pot or Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat.
- Add sliced onions and sugar (to help the sugars in the onion caramelize).
- Cook for 20 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring as needed to prevent sticking or burning.
- Turn heat to the lowest setting.
- Add garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Keep the heat very low to avoid any burning and continue cooking for 1½ hours, stirring less frequently as the onions continue to cook down.
- As the onions cook, scrape any browning on the bottom of the pan with a spatula, lifting them to prevent burning.
- The onions are done when they have caramelized and cooked down into a thick caramel paste.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly.
- Keeping the heat low, add the sherry or wine; using a flat utensil, loosen and incorporate all the browned onions from the bottom and sides, stirring them in thoroughly.
- Add the stock; turn up the heat to medium and bring to a boil.
- Decrease the heat and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add your choice of vinegar a little at a time; add slowly and taste-test to get the balance right, adding just a touch more vinegar or a touch more salt and pepper, until you have reached a desirable balance of flavors.
- For topping-- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Rub both sides of the toasted bread slices with garlic; cube.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Set ovenproof bowls on the baking sheet-- 6 or more as needed.
- Divide the hot soup evenly among the bowls.
- Float the cubed toast on top of the soup.
- Sprinkle the with the grated cheese on top.
- Place the baking sheet with bowls on the upper rack of the oven.
- Bake until cheese is melted and browned-- about 20 minutes.
- If you don't have ovenproof bowls, just top your soup with melted cheesy toast.
- Serve immediately.