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Jan 17, 2007 02:06 PM

Les Halles French Onion Soup

I made this recipe the other day (it had been posted on chow) and it took A LOT longer than expected. The recipe said that the onions should take about 20 minutes to soften and took me about an hour. Has anyone else encountered this? Did I do something wrong? (The soup was delicious, by the way, just took forever to make.)

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  1. I have made a couple french onion soups and the onions typically take 90ish minutes to soften and brown - basically forever. Taking the time to brown the onions is the secret to great onion soup, imho. I think the 20 minutes might have been a misprint (maybe they.

    3 Replies
    1. re: orangewasabi

      Hmmm ... I made some from the Balthazar recipe the other day and it took about 40 minutes - recipe says 30. It also said that they should turn golden, not brown though.

      1. re: MMRuth

        I've never tried to make the 'golden' version -- have always gone for the dark carmelised brown. Not something I make when I am hungry right away :-)

      2. re: orangewasabi

        Most of the onion soup recipes I've seen call for approx 20 minutes to brown the onions. It does take more like 90 minutes - even though I think it's fun so it doesn't bother me...but definitely not 20 minutes.

      3. I know it says about 20 minutes but I have found 40+ minutes is more like it. Those onions need low slow heat. You canot rush them and the sugar content of your onions is going to make a difference too. The sweeter the onion is the better it caramelizes.

        1. Fell into the same trap the first time I made onion soup. I thought I would be done in under an hour, soup to nuts (oops soup only) but it took waaaaay longer and the onions were the main culprit.

          I now allocate 45-60 minutes for the proper slow browning as this will make or break the dish.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jfood

            almost 4 years after jfood made this statement he has learned that 45-60 is good, but to get really good you need closer to three hours. It could be that he now use 6-8 pounds per batch but it takes 1 hour to eliminate the water and then another 1-2 to get a nice deep and slow caramelize.

          2. Put them with a small amount of olive oil (no broth) in your slow cooker on low, and then go do something for 4 or 5 hours. Really carmelizes them nicely.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rdesmond

              I had a recipe using only a small splash of balsamic vinegar for a tad of additional moisture and they came out beautifully!

            2. Thanks for all the feedback. Sounds like it wasn't me, it was the recipe.