French Onion Soup: Meltingly Good
One of the world’s great food moments is when spoon meets melted cheese and toasted slice of baguette floating on a steaming bowl of French onion soup. Rich beef broth pools around a wealth of tender caramelized yellow onions, the cheese wraps itself around the spoon, and that first sip is pure goodness. And no matter where you may be eating it, it transports you to the warmth of a neighborhood bistro on a frosty evening.
Most of us have tried French onion soup mix (or at least used it to mix with sour cream for a French onion dip). But there’s no comparison with the real deal of homemade soup. This classic French Onion Soup recipe takes just 30 minutes to complete, so out the door goes the argument that you don’t have time to cook soup from scratch.
When you eat French onion soup you’re following a tradition that began in 17th-century France, says the Oxford Companion to Food, which indicates that French onion is “a direct descendant of French court bouillon.” With onions plentiful and inexpensive, the soup has always been on the table of thrifty cooks, and because it’s so satisfying it’s held onto its place on the bistro menu.
Homemade stock is the best base, but you can use store-bought beef broth. And aged Gruyère cheese creates the beautiful bubbling surface, but you can also use regular Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese. If you’re watching your sodium and caloric intake, try this “Healthified” French Onion Soup, which calls for reduced-sodium broth and shredded Parmesan cheese.
Try these French onion soup variations!
• Caramelized Onion Soup (Chicken broth, white wine, and Gouda cheese give this version a lighter flavor)
• Quick French Onion Soup (Chickpeas, chives, and country bread make this soup a substantial supper dish)