French Onion Soup. French onion soup is an onion soup usually based on meat stock, and often served gratinéed with croutons and cheese on top. Although ancient in origin, this dish underwent a resurgence of popularity in the 1960s in the United States due to a greater interest in French cuisine.
Onion soups have been popular at least as far back as Roman times. They were, throughout history, seen as food for poor people, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The modern version of this soup originates in France in the 18th century, made from beef broth, and caramelized onions. It is often finished by being placed under a grill in a ramekin with croutons and gruyère melted on top. The crouton on top is reminiscent of ancient soups.
French Onion Soup Recipe
Prep Time: 10 min
Serves: 4 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 medium onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, picked and chopped or poultry seasoning
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 cups beef stock
4 thick slices crusty bread, toasted
2 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Heat a deep pot over medium to medium high heat. Work next to the stove to slice onions. Add oil and butter to the pot. Add onions to the pot as you slice them. When all the onions are in the pot, season with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme. Cook onions 15 to 18 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender, sweet and caramel colored. Add bay leaf and sherry to the pot and deglaze the pan drippings. Add 6 cups stock and cover pot to bring soup up to a quick boil.
Arrange 4 small, deep soup bowls or crocks on a cookie sheet. Preheat broiler to high. Once soup reaches a boil, ladle it into bowls. Float toasted crusty bread on soup and cover each bowl with a mound of cheese. Sprinkle remaining fresh thyme on cheese and place cookie sheet with soup bowls on it under hot broiler until cheese melts and bubbles.