Happy 40th Birthday to a very special friend – who I won’t name – since she keeps telling me she is now turning perpetually 39 from here on out. I’ve been saving this recipe to post on her birthday because of how excited she got about it when I texted her pictures the first time I made it.
I found this recipe in the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light and I couldn’t believe how easy the slow cooker made this recipe. In fact even if you don’t like soup or French onion soup just use the first part of the recipe to make caramelized onions. The slow cooker takes all of the work out of it. I’m pretty sure I took some of the ‘light’ out of the recipe since I had to use more cheese than it called for and ended up doubling the servings – but that was also to fit the size of my French onion soup bowls.
Here’s what you need:
In the bottom of a 3-1/2 quart slow cooker (double the recipe and use a larger slow cooker if you’re feeding a family – the recipe as I made it makes 3 servings) place some butter, a bay leaf, and a few sprigs of thyme.
Slice 3 large sweet onions thinly from root to tip.
Pile into the slow cooker. It’s gonna start by looking like a lot, but will shrink down a lot as it cooks. Sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.
Cover and cook on high for 8 hours. The onions will get nice and golden.
Pull out the thyme and the bay leaf and we’re going to start turning this into a soup.
Pour in about 3 cups of good quality beef stock.
Now splash in a little bit of red wine vinegar. The vinegar will add a nice vibrancy that cuts through the richness of the beef stock. I really liked this addition.
Add a pinch of kosher salt and some pepper. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust if you think it needs anything.
Line a baking sheet with foil – for two reasons, in case the cheese drips off it won’t land on the bottom of your oven and because we’re going to use it to toasts slices of baguette for the soup.
Place 3 slices of French baguette per bowl of soup onto the lined tray and broil for 30 seconds on each side until toasted.
Place a French onion soup bowl onto the tray (or one for each person eating – it was just me in this case). Mine are 16 ounces. Fill with French onion soup mixture. Sink the toasted bread into the soup until they absorb some of the liquid but still sit on top.
Now top generously with shredded gruyere cheese. About a quarter cup per bowl.
Pop under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
The cheese should be nice and bubbly brown when it’s done.
Look at all that gooey cheese.
And of course, the cheese pull when you take that first bite.
Since I’m the only one in my house who eats soup, I froze the other 2 servings. I filled up 2, 2 cup twist top reusable containers. Then added the bread and cheese to separate snack sized bags. When I was ready to have it again, just pulled it out of the freezer the night before to thaw. Warmed the soup in the microwave and then assembled and broiled the same way.
- 2 T butter
- 3 springs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 large sweet onions, vertically sliced
- ½ T sugar
- 3+ cups beef stock
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- Pinch kosher salt
- ½ t black pepper, fresh grated
- 9 slices, baguette
- ¾ c Gruyere cheese, shredded
- Place butter, thyme, and bay leaf in the bottom of a 3-1/2 quart slow cooker.
- Add onions and sprinkle with sugar.
- Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.
- Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Remove thyme and bay leaf.
- Pour in stock, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes more. Taste and adjust as needed.
- While soup is cooking, place sliced baguette on prepared pan and broil 30 seconds on each side until toasted.
- Place French onion soup bowls on same baking sheet used for the bread. Fill with French onion soup almost to the top. Place 3 slices of bread into each bowl and press to allow them to absorb the broth. Top each bowl with a quarter cup of shredded cheese.
- Broil for about 2 minutes until the cheese melts and starts to brown.