French Onion Soup Time

“I measure everything because I always think that if I’ve spent so much time making sure this recipe was exactly the way I want it, why would I want to throw things into a pot?”
Ina Garten

Well, we have some real fall temperatures right now, and what could be better than a bowl of hot and bubbly onion soup by the fire?  Certainly inspired by Ina, but not without adding some of my favorite touches that I have learned over the years, the first of course is that I can’t enjoy a bowl of French onion soup without a cheesy crouton on top and to get a very hot bowl of soup to the table, I bake it in the oven for twenty or so minutes, and along with Ina, a little booze makes it special.  A few fresh herbs can never spoil the soup so I toss in a couple of fresh bay leaves and a sprig of fresh thyme when I caramelize the onions.  A link to Ina’s recipe is below and is easily halved.

If you don’t want it so boozy, cut back on the alcohol amounts or use chicken broth in place of some of the alcohol, I was a little startled by the amount of alcohol since I was used to adding just white wine like Julia, Jacques’ gratineé doesn’t have a drop of alcohol and I really can’t say that all the booze made it better than other recipes.

Caramelizing the onions can take quite a while, but I have tried the Instant Pot method which a real time-saver, consider making the entire soup in the Instant Pot following the Serious Eats method…link below.

I’ve always made Jacques/Julia’s recipe taking something from each recipe, but I wanted to try Ina’s with a few changes.  To make the croutons, grill or toast artisan bread slices that have been brushed with EVOO, and just when they come out of the pan rub the slices with a peeled clove of garlic.  Grate some gruyere cheese to place on top of the crouton when you place it on top of the bowl of soup, bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Ina’s Onion Soup…slightly adapted

  • 2 1/2 pounds yellow onions, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup medium-dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup brandy or Cognac
  • 1 1/2 cups good dry white wine
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 4 cups veal stock/I used chicken stock haven’t found veal stock in ages
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
    Fat toasted crouton
    *optional Grated Gruyere cheese to top the crouton…
In a large soup or stockpot on medium-high heat, saute the onions with the butter and bay leaf for 20 minutes, until the onions turn a rich golden brown color. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and brandy and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes.

Add the beef and veal stocks plus salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprig, taste for salt and pepper, and serve hot with grated Parmesan.  The soup is extremely hot just out f the oven, so use oven mitts and warn your guests.  Enjoy a side salad/Ina’s Cape Cod Salad was great!