French Onion Soup

In my Mango Black Bean Salsa recipe, I mentioned how I base my meals around sale items, especially produce. Well, guess what was on sale this week? Yellow onions! They were buy one, get one free on the three pound bags. So it was the perfect excuse to whip up some French Onion Soup. It’s my husband’s favorite soup by far so I’ve had plenty of time to perfect it to his specifications.

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Now, the only bitch of making this soup is the cooking of the onions. They are caramelized. Which caramelized onions taste like heaven when they are done right, but they are true test in patience.

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The process takes about 45 minutes to do, but when they are done right, oh my gosh, you won’t care about the length of time they took.

So I present my recipe.

French Onion Soup

Prep Time: ~30 minutes. Cooking Time: 45 minutes: Inactive Cooking Time: 30 minutes to 5 hours. Total Time: 2-6 hours. Yields 8 Cups.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 10 tsp beef paste, divided (low sodium preferred, this is the one I use)
  • 10 cups water
  • –or–
  • 10 cups beef broth

Stove Top Directions

Start by peeling and cutting the outer skins off of the onions. I find it best to cut the top and bottom off, then make a slit with your knife down the side of the onion, taking the skin and outer layer off at one time.

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Then cut the onion in half, vertically. Chop each half as you see fit. Keep in mind that the caramelization process does shrink the onions.

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Now this part is an absolute bitch- make sure to peel apart the onions before you start cooking them! This is the part I hate the most. It takes a while, which is why the prep time is so long.

BUT! The onions do cook better and more even this way. I’ve tried to find work arounds, but I haven’t been able to find one.

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As the onions are peeled apart, throw them in a large stock pot. Once you are done with all of the onions, add the olive oil and stir to coat.

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Place the pot on the stove and turn the heat on to a medium heat. Stirring frequently, cook the onions until they are translucent. If you’re using beef paste and water to make your broth, now put two cups of water in a small pot and heat it to dissolve the paste.

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Next, turn the heat to low and add the sherry. If you do this the other way around, you burn off the sherry before anything else is added.

Next, add maple syrup, pepper, and garlic on top of the onions. Then add the two cups of broth and give the mix a stir.

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Turn the heat up so the onions are simmering and let it do it’s thing. Because there is so much broth added to the onions, you can leave it while you clean up or do something else. But do stir it every few minutes.

Continue monitoring the onions and stirring until the liquid has boiled off. At this point, your onions should be almost done. Ideally, the onions will be a rich brown or amber in color. They should practically melt in your mouth when you try one.

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The flash lightened the onions considerably. They should be a dark, rich brown.

Once they are like that, remove from heat.

Note: if your onions are still a little under cooked, then add half a cup of broth and let it simmer again. If your onions are done but they have extra broth, don’t worry about draining the broth or anything; just remove from heat.

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Once the onions are done, add the remaining 8 cups of broth and additional seasonings if you wish. Allow the soup to simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.

Crock Pot Directions

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Prep and cook the onions as stated above. Once they are done, transfer the onions to the crock pot and add the broth and seasonings. Cook on low for up to 5 hours. (You can try longer, but this is the longest I’ve done mine, so I can’t attest to the taste and texture resulting.)

Toppings

Because no French Onion Soup would be complete without toppings, I suggest broiling slices of French bread with Swiss cheese to float on top of the soup.

Nutritional Information

Using the exact ingredients and measurements, this is what one cup of soup yields:

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Notes:

  • Because this takes so fucking long, you can easily double or triple the recipe as you see fit.
  • This soup does last in the fridge, but not longer than a week.
  • You can make ahead the onions if you plan on throwing this together before work, but they won’t last more than a couple of days.
  • My husband likes this just as is, but I like adding chicken, beef, or ham to this soup to give it an extra boost in the protein department.