Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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Surprisingly Simple Classic French Onion Soup

I love French onion soup! But I don’t make it very often because it’s so time consuming. It takes FOREVER to get the onions to caramelize. 

BUT NOT ANY MORE! I just discovered that the crock pot does all the caramelizing for you–overnight…while you sleep. Really.

I wasn’t sure it would work, but I had to give it a try. Its amazing. You wake up in the morning and the house smells delicious and all the hard work is done. At that point, the soup can be ready in no time. In fact, mine was ready so soon, I just let it simmer for a while.

This is the perfect holiday season ready-in-no-time dinner. But add a great salad and it turns into an impromptu dinner party.

  • 4 lbs. large yellow onions
  • 3-4 TBS. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS. flour
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white vermouth
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. dry thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 French baguette, sliced and toasted
  • 1-2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan chees

Thinly slice the onions into half rounds and add them to the crock pot. It should be at least 3/4 full. Toss with the olive oil and salt.

Cover and cook on LOW overnight–or 10 hours. I started mine at 8 pm and woke up at 6 am to a wonderful aroma. I wasn’t sure how they would turn out…

…but here’s what they looked like. Success! Taste them at this point. I let mine cook another hour to get them a little more concentrated. You can continue to cook, and check them, until they’re just how you like them.

If you’re not going to use all of them for your soup, you can keep them in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for 3 months.

Transfer the onions to a large pot–I used my Le Crueset. Heat on medium high until hot. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and cook on high for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the vermouth and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and simmer until flavors blend, at least 30 minutes.

Ladle into oven-proof bowls or ramekins. Top each with 1 or 2 toasted bread slices. Generously top with the cheeses. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler until cheese melts. Be careful and watch it so it doesn’t burn. 

Remove from the oven and serve immediately. But be careful, the cheese can be really hot.

It doesn’t get any easy or tastier than this!

Categories: Soups & Salads

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