My 13 year-old would live off French onion soup if it was allowed.
You would think making homemade French onion soup would be easy. Apparently not for me.
Nothing I have made over the years compared with restaurant quality French onion soup. I did the only thing I knew to do. I started buying it in a can hoping to find the version restaurants use.
That is until I found this gem of a recipe. It is perfect.
It is beyond perfect–it is easy!
I love Teacups in the Garden blog. I can barely sew a button on, but something about period costumes is interesting. It was here I received the recipe for homemade 16th century French onion soup and the history behind it. Be sure and check out her recipe and the links she provides.
This isn’t a recipe you’ll soon forget — the main ingredients are just onions and water!
Yes, just water. No beef stock or chicken stock or vegetable stock. Just plain-from-your-faucet water.
And a whole lot of onions. A whole mess of them, as we Southerners say.
It all starts with slicing all those onions.
The original recipe calls for yellow Spanish onions. Yellow onions will sweat more liquid and have a wonderful flavor, but they are not my favorite. I prefer to use Sweet Georgia Vidalia Onions. The liquid they sweat is not as much as the yellow onions, but the flavor is better in my opinion. However, I generally go with whichever onions are on sale, while preferring the Vidalia.
Add your onions to a large pan with a pat of butter and sauté.
Add water. Trust me, just water.
Reduce and cook down. The best way is low and slow. It develops the flavor. You will be amazed at the liquid gold these onions and water become. The taste is deep and rich.
Adding too much water without enough onions and allowing to fully reduce will result in a weak broth. However, this isn’t a picky recipe. If you add too much water, just cook longer. (Or crank up the heat to cook faster — just make sure you watch closely to avoid burning.)
Add a dash of red cooking wine. It does deepen the flavors. Of course, some salt and pepper if you want to.
Ladle into ramekins or oven-safe bowls.
Drop in toasted French bread cut into cubes. Don’t forget to toast your bread or it will disintegrate into the soup. For my bowl, I use a Udi’s Gluten-Free French Roll.
Top with cheese (Gruyere, Provolone, Swiss, Havarti — your preference).
Place completed bowls onto a baking sheet and broil until cheese is bubbly and nicely browned.
Remove and serve.
My family enjoys French onion soup with baked potatoes and salad or a club sandwich. It’s a pleasant weeknight dinner and if made ahead it’s quick to reheat. I can’t tell you what it’s like to have leftovers because we’ve never had any!
Here’s to 16th century peasants who knew a thing or two about cooking onions.