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Baked French Onion Soup

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

This French Onion Soup takes time and effort but the finished product is amazing! Sweet and yummy perfection in a bowl!

Ingredients

  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Divided
  • 3 pounds Spanish Onions, Cut Into ¼” Slices
  • 1  Leek, White And Very Light Green Parts, Julienned
  • ½ cups Water
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2-½ quarts Homemade Beef Stock Or Low-sodium Store Bought
  • ½ cups Cognac
  • ½ cups Dry Sherry
  • 1  French Bread Baguette, Cut On The Bias In ¾” Slices
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Cut In Half
  • 4 ounces, weight Gruyère Cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces, weight Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • 2 ounces, weight Asiago Cheese, Grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place rack in lower ⅓ of oven.

2. Spray the inside of a large Dutch oven with non-stick spray. Set the Dutch oven over medium heat for 5 minutes then add 3 tablespoons of butter, onion slices and the leek. Toss the onions to coat with the melting butter, stir in ½ cup of water then cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 1 hour until the onions are tender and translucent. Check after 30 minutes to make sure that the water has not completely evaporated. If necessary add enough water to keep the onion mixture moist. After 1 hour remove the Dutch oven from oven and stir in 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, the thyme, and the chopped garlic. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar for 1 hour.

3. Transfer the Dutch oven back to the stovetop, remove the lid and set over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until all of the water has evaporated and the onions are browned to your liking. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook stirring for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat to rest while you heat 2 cups of the beef stock just to the boiling point in a small saucepan. You can keep the oven on—you’ll need it in a bit.

4. With the Dutch oven still off the heat, whisk in the hot beef stock until completely incorporated. Return the Dutch oven to medium heat, add the remaining beef stock, cognac and sherry and bring to a simmer. Cover and keep over low heat for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and simmer for 30 minutes more.

5. During the last ½ hour of simmering, toast the baguette slices on a baking sheet in the 400ºF oven until golden brown on both sides. Rub the toasted baguette slices with the cut sides of the garlic cloves. Set aside to cool. Mix the cheeses and the chopped parsley together in a bowl. Place a silicone mat on the baking sheet and arrange the toasted baguette slices on the mat at least 1” apart. Divide the cheese mixture evenly on top of each slice and return the baking sheet to the oven until the cheeses have melted, run off the bread all around and browned.

6. While the bread and cheese are browning, turn off the heat under the soup and taste to adjust seasonings. Stir in the 3 remaining tablespoons of butter until smooth.

Notes:
Serve the croutons on the side with their skirts of melted cheese attached or float them on individual servings of the soup.

Adding all-purpose flour will tighten the soup. Aside from our beef stock, we’re not cooking with any other meat proteins to add body to this soup so we tighten it (as opposed to thickening).

When you are adjusting the seasoning you may want to add a little granulated sugar in addition if the caramelized onions haven’t produced enough natural sweetness. You may also wish to add more cognac and or sherry.

For a more traditional presentation, fill individual ovenproof soup crocks with soup and float 3 of the toasted baguettes slices on top. Mound the cheese mixture on the bread and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese has browned.

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