Homemade French Onion Soup Recipe
- 6 to 8 medium yellow onions
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 quart low-sodium beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 cup white wine or sherry
- 2 cups cubed bread (French or sourdough)
- 4 slices Gruyere cheese
Begin by slicing the onions. Cut the ends off and peel the skin. Then, with a sharp knife, carefully cut with the grain of the onion (there are lines that run from pole to pole—use them as a guide) into 1/4-inch strips.
When the onions are cut, begin melting the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions and toss them with the salt and sugar in the pan. At this stage it is OK to "jump-start" the cooking a bit by leaving the flame at medium-low. Keep a close eye on the onions so they don't brown too quickly. After about 3 or 4 minutes, reduce the heat to low. At this point, you can allow the onions to cook for about 10 minutes between stirring them. Adjust the heat or remove them from the heat temporarily if they seem to be cooking too quickly. Continue cooking and stirring the onions over low heat for 2 to 3 hours or until they take on a caramel color.
Meanwhile, bring the beef stock to a simmer with the bay leaf and crushed garlic clove. Add the white wine and simmer for about 10 minutes. Keep warm until you are ready to add the onions.
When the onions are done, add them to the beef stock. Bring the stock back to a simmer. At this point, if it is going to be a while until dinner time, you can transfer the soup to a slow cooker to keep it warm and allow the flavors to meld even further.
Preheat the broiler and move an oven rack to the second highest position (about 6 inches away from the broiler flame).
Divide the soup into 4 oven-safe crocks or bowls. Top the soup with the croutons and a slice of cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Watch closely so the cheese doesn't burn.
Serve immediately with a green salad and a nice glass of red wine.