I was going to make a recipe my mother had, but then today I realized that I didn’t actually have the recipe so I winged it. And oh my, did the fates smile on me today.
The bulk of the work here is done in the oven, so yay!
- 3 medium-to-large yellow onions
- Fresh thyme (leaves from about 10 stalks)
- 1 cup of cooking sherry
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
- 1 l beef stock (no salt added)
- 1 l beef stock (regular)
- Ground salt and pepper to taste
Total cooking time – 5 hours, but most of it is in the oven.
Preheat your oven to 350F
Peel and slice your onions and place them into oven-safe pot. On top of the raw onions, place four slices/pats of butter. Do not be stingy with the butter.
Place the cover on your pot and put it in the oven. Leave it alone for one hour.
Remove the pot from the oven, and set aside the lid. The onions by this point should be starting to sweat and go limp. Stir, cover, and put back in the oven.
Over the next two hours, remove the pot from the oven every 30 minutes, and stir. When you get close to that third hour, your onions should be browning and caramelizing nicely.
When your onions are caramelized enough, move the pot to the stovetop, and turn your burner on medium-high.
Put the thyme into the onions, and stir. Remember that you only want the leaves from the thyme stalks, not the stalks themselves. What you’re doing now is waking up the aromatics in the thyme.
Now it is time to deglaze your pan. Slowly pour half the cooking sherry into the pan, and stir to scrape the lovely caramelized bits off the pan. Add the rest of the sherry, and then the crushed garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the pot is bubbling (a few minutes at most).
(If you don’t have any cooking sherry on hand, you can use dry white wine. If you are using wine, you will need to add more salt)
Now it is time to add the beef stock.
(As an aside, I used one litre of unsalted beef stock and one litre of salted as cooking sherry has quite a lot of salt in it. You will be able to add more salt at the end for taste.)
Stir well, turning the burner to high. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn down to low/medium low. You’re going to want to cook the soup down for about an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.
After about an hour, you can start tasting it to figure out how much salt and pepper you want to add.
When it’s time to serve, measure out into bowls and add in the cheesy toasts.
For each bowl, one slice of sourdough bread
Grated cheese (gruyere if you have it, or whatever you do have)
Granulated garlic (optional)
First off, toast the bread in the toaster until it’s nicely golden (not browned)
Turn on your oven’s broiler
On a cookie sheet, lay the bread flat, then cover with a healthy amount of grated cheese, and if you’re using it, a dash of granulated garlic.
(Most recipes call for gruyere cheese, but if you don’t have any in stock you can use another cheese like cheddar – gruyere can be expensive).
Broil the toasts, keeping a close eye on them. They are done when the cheese has melted and is just starting to turn golden-brown on the edges.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Put the cheesy toasts on a cutting board and cut them into squares. This will save you from the usual problem with French Onion soup, which is making a mess of things when you can’t cut up your cheesy bread with a spoon.
Carefully slide each toast directly into the bowls (cheese side up, obv).
Time to eat. Be careful do you don’t burn your mouth with the deliciousness.