I love French Onion soup. There was a fantastic little restaurant close to my house in my hometown that friends of ours owned. We were frequent patrons. Such frequent visitors that we could sit down and the regular bartender/ server would immediately put in an order for 3 French Onion soups (for myself, my mum, and my sister) so they would be at our table minutes after walking through the door. This French Onion soup was/ is unlike any soup you’ve ever had. I dream of this soup. The ownership of the restaurant changed, and I don’t visit my hometown very often anymore, so it has been quite sometime since I’ve been able to enjoy it. Joe’s French Onion is rich and tangy and has a bit of spice and is just phenomenal. Luckily, our family friends still own 2 restaurants that I can hopefully get a nice big cheesy bowl of Joe’s French Onion soup soon!
I made this soup in the crock pot and did turn out to be quite delicious, but it still wasn’t the same. But, we did think it was better than some restaurants.
2 medium red onions
1 large sweet yellow onion
1 large white onion
1/2 stick butter
1 – 48 ounce can beef broth (College Inn)
1 – 17 container bold tender beef broth (College Inn)
1/8 cup red wine
1/8 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 TBSP ketchup
1/2 TBSP flour
1/2 TBSP sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Sachet with fresh thyme sprigs, 3 bay leaves, 1 clove fresh crushed garlic clove (a sachet is herbs/ aromatics wrapped in cheesecloth and dropped in while it’s cooking)
1 loaf French or Italian bread cut into 1 inch slices (and depending which type you’re using, cut in half)
Cheese (I used a shredded 6 cheese blend, but slices of mozzarella, provolone, or Fontina or Gruyere would be delicious)
Slice all of the onions. Melt about 2 TBSP of butter in a large skillet and add the onions. Let the onions cook down and caramelize. Add more butter as needed (I probably used another 2 TBSP) to keep the skillet from getting too dry. While the onions are cooking, make the sachet with 3 bay leaves, fresh thyme and garlic). Once the onions have cooked down and have a nice golden color, add them to the crock pot. Stir in a little broth into the skillet to deglaze the pan to get all of the delicious itty bits that are stuck to the pan. I also added a little red wine to the pan. The red wine we had on hand was pretty sweet, so I didn’t use much. If I had a dry red, I would’ve used more with the broth to deepen the flavor. Add in the rest of the broth. Add the pan scrapings and broth from the skillet. Add the vinegars, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and sugar. Drop in the sachet. Cook on high for about 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours. Once the soup has simmered and slow cooked, toast slices of bread in the oven at 350. Add some of the soup into your oven proof bowls and then put 1 “crouton” and then add more soup so it’s almost to the top. Add another piece of bread and top with the cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden.