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Sunday Soup: French Onion Gratinee

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Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest… at our house, like many others I believe, it’s a day filled with activity, trying to squeeze as much into the weekend as we can.    If you’ve been following along on my Blog journey you know I Meal Prep on Sundays and that includes making Sunday Soup, and apparently, if I don’t it’s not Sunday  which means no school Monday, according to my son Jonathan.   Kids are pretty funny sometimes.

French Onion Soup ingredients
French Onion Soup – Love on a Plate

 

We also do our very best to ensure that everyone is home for dinner,  and I frequently cook something a little more “special”… Love on a plate style.   Sunday Dinner is for us a great way to gather together and celebrate family, we often have Grandparents join us, and some of our best conversations occur as we sit together, sometimes for 2 hours, no interruptions, no plans, just us.   Okay, so let’s get to the good stuff you’re saying to me, got it!  Soup, Sunday Soup, French Onion it is!

 

 

Caramelizing Onions in the Crockpot

 

French Onion Soup is one of those more “special” items I might add to a Sunday dinner; but there are 2 problems…

  • It takes a long time to caramelize onions, and they need to be watched over; so I’ve taken to doing them in the crock pot now which allows me to do other things while they slow cook into deliciousness

 

  • It means there is no “Weekly” soup.   French Onion Soup doesn’t reheat well, or it wouldn’t if we ever had any left over, which we never do.  So it means I need to make TWO soups, if I make French Onion Soup – oh my!

 

 

White Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Dutch Oven

 

If I’m not using my crockpot, I highly recommend using a good dutch oven, I love my Le Creuset Dutch Oven which I’ve had for 20 years and is still in PERFECT condition.   This enameled cast iron ensures even cooking, with no sticking… it’s perfect for this kind of low and slow cooking.

I have a bit of an addiction to Le Creuset, it’s definitely not inexpensive, but for tool that I know will last forever I think it’s worth it.    In addition to this dutch oven,  my next most often used Le Creuset is a bake ware set I got as a gift last Christmas.

  • Made of durable, high-fired stoneware with glossy enamel glazing
  • Safe in oven, freezer, and microwave; comes in different colors
  • Non-porous construction resists odors, chipping, cracking, and staining

I’ve found it cooks very evenly and clean up is a breeze.

 

 

French Onion Soup Gratinee

loveonaplate
More like Love in a bowl, this soup is actually very simple to make, it just takes some time to really develop the flavours.  It is an excellent choice for a dinner party as you can make the majority of it up to 3 days ahead.   Love that.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 9 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Servings 12 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • large onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups chicken broth low sodium if using canned
  • 1 3/4 cups beef broth low sodium if using canned
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt optional
  • black pepper -- freshly ground to taste
  • *** TOPPING ***
  • 1 baguette   cut on the bias into 3/4 inch slices
  • 4 1/2 ounces Swiss cheese grated
  • 3 ounces Asiago cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • 1. Melt butter in large  Dutch oven over medium high heat; add sliced onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to coat onions thoroughly with butter.  You can also use your Crock pot which I have been doing lately as it requires less hands on work and watching.
  • 2. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are reduced and syrupy about 40-45 minutes.  If using the Crock Pot you will need to let the onions cook on high for about 2 hours.
  • 3. Stir in the chicken and beef broths*, sherry, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, scraping pot bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, and bring to a simmer.  If you've caramelized your onions in the crock pot, now is the time to place them into a large Dutch oven, and allow them to cook for a few minutes to allow them to brown up just a little, then add in all remaining ingredients.
  • 4. Simmer to build flavors, about 20 minutes, and discard herbs.
  • 5. Stir in balsamic vinegar and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  • 6. To serve, adjust oven rack to upper middle position; heat broiler.
  • 7. Set serving bowls on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 1/2 cups
  • soup.
  • 8. Top each bowl with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle with Swiss and
  • Asiago cheeses.
  • 9. Place oven proof bowls on a baking sheet, and broil on low until well
  • browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Notes

A couple of notes about choosing your ingredients for this recipe.  Because it such a pure soup, you can really taste the quality of ingredients being used.  I highly recommend using homemade broth if you can, if not canned will work, but BOUILLON will not.  It's simply not rich enough in flavour and overly salty.
Onions, you can use cooking onions, I like to use Sweet Spanish Onions or Vidalia Onions if I have them. I don't recommend Red Onions, as they don't seem to caramelize the same for me -- but you do you, and use whatever you prefer.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on September 2nd, 2018
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Lara Brooks

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