Country French Onion Soup Recipe
Some people shy away from making this soup just because it has the word French in it- and that "French" recipes are just too darn difficult to make. Most people usually think that you have to attend French Culinary of Arts classes in order to even attempt making anything from this country. Nothing could be further from the truth as French Onion soup is so easy to make.
It takes a while for the onions to slowly cook down and become deliciously soft, tender and caramelized in order for it to have the correct texture. Moreover, you don't have to be stood over the pot for 45 minutes while this happens, as the flame is on very low and occasional stirring is all that is needed to make sure the onions do not brown.
Then we add the seasonings for that classic taste (usually thyme), but I used Herbes de Provence as well, as the aroma of these herbs remind me of the countryside of which I am so fond, along with the flavor which is outstanding with the fresh thyme! Gruyere cheese is classic on the croutons for this recipe, however, many people use provolone as well (or both) that when broiled turn out awesomely stringy and luscious!
4 tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)
6 onions (2 red/purple & 4 brown)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. Herbes de Provence
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 qts. Organic beef stock
Salt and black pepper to taste
Crusty French bread or similar, cut into 1/2" rounds
1 cup shredded Gruyere and/or provolone cheese
1. Cut the onions in half, slice off the root and tip discarding the onion skin. Slice thinly top to bottom (vertically) so that you have thin slivers. Over a low to medium heat, melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions, salt and pepper - stir well and cook until the onions are soft and caramelized and have dramatically reduced in volume (do not brown). Adjust the heat as necessary to avoid this and especially towards the end of cooking if the onions show signs of browning. This should take approximately 45 - 55 minutes.
2. Raise the heat to medium and add the Herbes de Provence and thyme stirring well. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the beef stock - mix well and cook for approximately 30 minutes. Taste the soup, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as you wish. In the meantime, prepare the cheesy croutons by slicing the bread in 1/2" rounds and topping with the cheese.
3. For the last step, either turn on your broiler (salamander) and heat it up or, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When the soup is ready, ladle into bowls and place a cheesy crouton or two on top. Broil or bake the soup bowls (placed on a baking sheet for easy removal) until the cheese is melted, golden brown and/or bubbly. Serve immediately and warn your diners that the soup will be steaming hot! Enjoy.
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