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Mar 25, 2014 06:32 AM

Beef stock VS. Chicken stock French onion soup [moved from Prairie Provinces]

I usually use homemade beef stock in my onion soup, however many recipes use chicken stock or a combo. Opinions?

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  1. That would be called onion soup, but certainly not classic French onion soup. Just sounds wrong to me, especially as red wine of some sort is also a necessary ingredient. Maybe chicken stock with a fino sherry would be ok, but again, not classic.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scary Bill

      What in your definition is "classic?"

      1. re: KitchenBella

        Includes beef stock from roasted marrow bones and beef scraps, red wine plain or fortified, Gruyere and thyme, among the other ingredients.

        1. re: Scary Bill

          That's how I make it, but I travel a lot being a flight attendant and it's amazing how many restaurants serve it with chicken broth and claim it to be "French onion soup!" Wasn't sure if I was missing something...

          1. re: KitchenBella

            KB, I searched for FOS recipes using chicken stock and was surprised to find so many, with many calling it FOS. OS, yes, FOS, no.

            Perhaps the next time you layover in Paris you can continue your research. I will be there in September to conduct my own research!

            1. re: Scary Bill

              Likely, part of the issue is that most recipes don't require that people make their own stock. If you're buying canned, neither beef nor chicken 'stock' will make an especially good, traditional FOS. But canned chicken 'stock' is generally less crapular and off-putting than canned beef 'stock,' so recipe writers may be settling for the lesser of two evils in calling for chicken stock. If you're accepting storebought canned stock in the first place, then there's not much point of holding out for beef over chicken on tradition/authenticity grounds. Cause either way, what you're making ain't traditional.

    2. If you make your own *dark* chicken stock from browned, roasted bones, the difference is minimal. A lot of the flavor you associate with beef stock really just comes from the roasting step. Of course, it's cheaper/easier to get chicken bones than beef bones. The beef adds a bit of its own thing, but not enough that you should hold off on making French onion soup for lack of beef stock when there's plenty of chicken bones available. You might even prefer the dark chicken stock anyway.