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Sep 9, 2008 08:01 PM

Need your best french onion soup recipe!

My husband's coming home from deployment, and his favorite soup is french onion. How do I make a really good one? What are your scratch and semi-scratch recipes? tia.

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  1. I've heard good things about Julia Child's version in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but it's time consuming. There are two versions from Cook's Illustrated that are decent but supposedly don't compare.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rockfish42

      I second Julia Child recipe. Onion are sweated and carmelized. Beef broth is added with wine.

    2. Here is how I do it.. Boil five lbs of beef bones in water for three minutes. Pour off
      water and ick that rises to top wash bones in sink. Put back in pot with three quarts
      of water. Blacken an onion on a burner on all sides. put in pot. Blacken a piece of
      ginger same way. I do this on my grill but if you don't have one do it on a burner. add
      one teaspoon of sugar. No salt yet. Boil all of this for five hours as low as you can
      get the burner to go or if you have a pressure cooker cook for an hour and a half.
      While doing this saute a large chopped onion in butter for an hour again at a heat
      as low as you can get it. Don't worry if you get a few very dark pieces it won't hurt.
      Strain broth, add caramelized onions to broth, salt. Toast a piece of bread. Place
      broth and onions in a bowl. float bread on top of broth. Grate lots of Parmesan
      cheese on top of bread. Broil in broiler until cheese is nice and brown or put it in
      a very hot oven till ready. Oui la la
      Upon review, I forgot to tell you to add black pepper. Add it when you add the caramelized onions to the broth.
      By the way, Julia browns the bones, I don't
      good luck, Paul

      1. Some good recipes and good ideas on this thread:

        1. FOS is a winter standard in our house with a salad and good bread, as it freezes very well. I make my own beef stock using 5 lbs. beef shin, 3 ribs of chopped celery, 3-4 chopped large carrots, 2 large onions chopped, bouquet garni of bay leaf, parsley, leek and carrot tied with string. Brown all vegetables & beef in hot oven (400) in greased roasting pan for 30-40 min stirring well so everything browns. Slip browned items into 8 gal stock pot, add 8 qts cold water, 28 oz can good quality chopped tomatoes, s&p, 2 bay leaves. Simmer uncovered skimming off scum as it acculates for about 1-2 hours. Simmer additional 4-5 hours. Let pot cool, strain well of bones, bay leaves. Use immersion blender to blend solids. Soup can be put into freezealble containers and frozen in advance.

          To assemble soup: saute 3 very large onions cut into rings in wide frying pan using 1/2 stick butter on low flame for 20-25 minutes until carmelized and brown. S&p to taste. Some people sprinkly 1-2 tsp sugar to speed carmelization, I don't do this. This step is very important, if you don't have the time to bring the onion to this point, the soup won't taste as good as it should.

          While onions are carmelizing and sauteeing, slice a loaf of French bread or other good, artisanal rustic bread in to 1/2 in slices. Toast in 375 oven on baking sheet turning several times. Set aside.

          Grate 8 oz cheese. I like a combination of Fontina, romano, and Jarlsberg cheese.

          To assemble: heat soup to very, very hot, adding onions and 2-3 T finely chopped parsley. In onion soup crocks, ladle in soup about 3/4 full, add toasted bread, cover with combination of cheese. Place on baking sheet (this should make 4-6 crocks). Heat in 425 preheated oven for 10 minutes, checking to make sure they don't burn.

          Soup freezes very well. You can also freeze carmelized onions. These can be made in advance and toasted bread and cheeses to be added at the last minute. Enjoy!

          1. Ah, traditional French comfort food on return from deployment - great idea. I love FOS, and I think it a shame that it has become unfashionable.

            My soup is similar to Diane's except that I don't use tomatoes. During the sauteing of the onions, I add salt, pepper, and some chopped fresh rosemary (my preference, but thyme would be a very good option). I deglaze with a bit of wine (white, usually, though I've used red). When they're fully caramelised, I add the beef broth. In the individual bowls, I put a slice of grilled onion in the bottom. I find the contrast of flavour and texture with the sweet, 'slimey' caramelised onions adds complexity to the soup. I toast the bread before putting it on the top. My cheese preference is gruyere. For wine, I find that something refreshing that can deal with some sweetness, like riesling, is best.

            Ooh, la la, indeed.