French Onion soup is something my wife and I really like. I have had it in some really good restaurants were it was a very expensive bowl of soup. The first recipe for it that I remember seeing was on Julia Child’s tv show. The recipe that she made is in a cookbook I have. The first time I made it myself I used that recipe. Went out and purchased all the ingredients including the expensive bottle of wine it called for. That bottle of wine ended up in the trash because I only used a small amount of it and had no use for the rest. That French Onion soup was an expensive meal. Because we like it I found an inexpensive way to make it. It still has the taste you want but it’s a little different and a lot cheaper. Bag of onions, 3 pounds, $1.50, butter $1.00, cheese $2.00, beef stock $1.75 and about another dollar for the other things. So it comes in at about $7.25 for the pot of soup, enough for 6 bowls so just over a dollar a bowl. With a salad it makes a very good meal, that doesn’t break the bank. I use things I always have in the house, things that most people usually have. The dry sherry I have for Asian recipes but you could use another dry wine or leave it out.
The only hard part is the chopping and cooking of the onions. It takes about 45 – 60 minutes to cook the onions and you need to be at the stove the whole time. You can’t rush the cooking , you need the onions to be browned but not burnt. Hate the term carmelized, but you want them the color of carmel. This takes time and lots of stirring, you can’t skip the work, you can’t get the taste without it. Once the onions are cooked the rest is easy just simmer for one and one-half hours. The last bit takes about 5 minutes maximum and is still simple to do. Nice part is you get to use up the little end pieces of bread that no one really knows what to do with. This may not be a true French Onion soup but it is a good my version of a french onion soup.
3 pounds of onions sliced
1 large clove garlic chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 and 1/2 litres beef broth
1 cup water
2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons white or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons finely grated Parmesan cheese for each bowl
1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese for each bowl
1 slice toasted bread for each bowl that just fits the bowl I use the end pieces of rye bread, rub each piece of toast with a clove of garlic.
Melt butter in a 6-8 litre pot on medium heat, add onions, salt and pepper and stir. You need to cook onions for 45 to 60 minutes stirring often. Once they start to brown you need to stir more often, the last 15 minutes you can’t leave the pot, you basically stir constantly scrapping the bottom of the pot. When just about brown add the garlic. Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute then add beef broth, water, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, mustard powder, and bay leaves, reduce heat and simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours, just before serving add vinegar and stir. Use a onion soup bowl or ramekin, put parmesan cheese in bottom of bowl and fill bowl with soup. Float toast on bowl, top with mozzarella cheese, place under broiler. Broil until cheese is melted and starts to brown. Serve as a starter or with a large salad as a meal.