French onion soup is a simple, rustic and delicious dish. It’s one of my favorite food items. Although it takes a bit of time to make, it is so worth it. I’ve often pleaded with my French friend to give me his recipe, but he is not budging. You see, he is a French chef and VERY protective of his recipes, especially this one for some reason. Oh well, c’est la vie! The French onion soup recipe I am sharing with you today is my son Adam’s recipe. He’s been dying to contribute a recipe to my blog for a long time, and here’s his chance. Adam works at a country club where according to him the chef “makes the best French onion soup in the world.” Like my French friend, his boss is not giving up the recipe either. Anyhow, through keen observation, Adam has developed his own recipe and is very proud of his creation. I wasn’t even allowed in the kitchen to suggest or help! I must say, he did a FANTASTIC job! Adam is also very excited to be entering culinary school this coming Fall. He now has, as of this post, a published recipe! How cool is that!
So, where did French onion soup come from? Well, although not really original to France, the French did improve the original recipe. Would you expect any less? Apparently, French onion soup dates back to antiquity. The Greeks and the Romans enjoyed a soup made with cooked onions tossed in a broth. At some point in time, the French decided that the onions should be caramelized to bring out their natural sweetness. Good idea! To top things off, Gruyere and toasted bread and broiled in the oven. Now you are talking! The cognac is added at the very end (right before the broiling). Onions, just like garlic, shallots and leeks, are part of the Allium family. Among the members of this botanical family, onions have the strongest taste. Caramelizing them softens and sweetens the taste.
I am very proud of my French heritage and its amazing foods. French food is not complicated as most people think. In fact, most French food that a family eats on any given night is simple, genuine and oh so flavorful. The key? fresh ingredients of course.
- 3 medium onions sliced
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 6 cups beef stock
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 4 sprigs of thyme tied with kitchen twine
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 oz. cognac
- dash of nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere
- toasted baguette slices
- Place onions in a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle with flour, pepper and salt.
- In a medium stock pot melt the butter and add the onions. Toss onions in the butter until they are translucent. Add the sugar.
- Turn heat to low and cover. Cook until onions are caramelized (a brown color). This will take about 45 minutes. Move onions around frequently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the stock,wine, thyme, bay leaves, oregano, and garlic. Cook for about 30 minutes on low.
- Turn off heat. Add cognac and nutmeg. Stir and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
- Portion into oven safe bowls.
- Place toasted slices of baguette on top of the soup. Sprinkle liberally with Gruyere.
- Place under the broiler until the cheese begins to sizzle. Enjoy!