This soup is truly a labor of love. It takes time. It is not something you can rush. Make it a weekend thing, or a thing when you have nothing to do but chill at home.
If you rush this recipe, the end result will not be the rich, dark broth that is a requirement in baked French onion soup. You will also put yourself at risk for, ahem, potential digestive issues. The onions need a lot of cookin’ to break them down to make them easily digestible. Take heart — I am sensitive to onions in my food and this recipe gives me no problems.
To start, you need to caramelize a huge pot of sliced onions slowly for about an hour. You need to baby your onions so they don’t burn, stirring gently and regularly.
After that initial work though, all you have to do is let the low heat work its magic for a couple of hours and you will have the most amazing depth of flavor in this soup. No joke! After two hours, add some sliced baguettes and grated Gruyère cheese on top and broil until bubbly. Hands down, this French onion soup is better than any you can buy at a restaurant.
Ingredients for this soup:
About 8 Cups of sliced onions (I used five medium-sized yellow onions)
4 Tbs butter
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbs all purpose flour
1 Cup dry white wine (use a wine you will drink with your dinner)
1, 32 oz carton of beef stock
1 small can of beef consomme (you can find this in the canned soup section of the grocery store with a red and white label on it)
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
grated gruyère (about 1/4 Cup per bowl)
Slice your onions at about 1/3 of an inch thick. Every tear will be worth it, I promise.
In a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat, melt 4 Tbs of butter and add your onions to the pot. At first they will look like this:
Add 1 tsp of sugar and stir, cooking a few more minutes to caramelize your onions just a tad bit more. Add your flour and cook for two-3 minutes more, then whisk in your 1 Cup of dry white wine. You should instantly have a thick sauce developing. Pour in your beef consomme and beef stock, add your bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil.
Turn this down to a simmer and allow to cook at least 1 hour, but it is better the longer it goes. I let it simmer for two and a half hours and it was amazing. Add salt and pepper if needed before serving.
When ready to serve, ladle soup into oven proof bowls and put two to three 1/2 inch slices of baguette on top of the soup. Add 1/4 Cup of grated cheese to each bowl on top of the baguette slices and broil until the cheese is bubbly.