One of the most common beliefs surrounding French onion soup is that the onions have to be cooked to a deep, deep, darkish, dark mahogany brown. I’m going to start off by using calling BS on that premise. It’s not that I think it’s incorrect to caramelize the onions darkly; I simply don’t think it’s essential for brilliant results. I also think there may be a massive chance in going very darkish: Unless you are enormously careful, it’s very smooth to introduce unpleasantly sour flavors to the onion—one of the culprits in so much of the awful French onion soup out there.
In check after test, I found that superb French onion soup can be made with more lightly caramelized onions. The deep, sweet flavor that we need arrives long before they flip the shade of dark chocolate. And, as I researched other French onion soup recipes, I discovered I wasn’t alone on this realization. In fact, some of the people I trust most in this subject matter have said precisely the equal thing.
So what do we really want from the onions? We need them notably gentle, with a deep, sweet flavor and a coloration that is a rich golden brown. Some folks won’t consider this—every so often the way we’ve grown acquainted with a food becomes the best manner we are able to believe it. That’s fine: You’re loose to cook the onions even extra if that’s what you prefer.
Let’s start, though, with one immutable fact: Contrary to almost every recipe I’ve read, onions do no longer caramelize in 15 minutes. They additionally don’t caramelize in 25 minutes. And, unless you’re cooking a totally small batch, you may be lucky if they’re completed in forty five minutes.
Yes, over excessive heat, onions can brown on the surface very quickly, specifically in a pan that’s not crowded. But the aim of caramelizing onions isn’t simply to brown the floor; it’s to transform the onions so that they’re soft and sweet to the core. Try to rush it and all you’ll come to be doing is burning them.
What about all those other variables? In my tests, I located that butter no longer most effective produces much more delicious caramelized onions than oil, however additionally kicks off the browning reactions extra quickly.
With the onions caramelized, the following step is to feature the liquid and simmer it all together. I begin with some sherry, because I love that nutty, oxidized flavor with the caramelized onions. You can also use vermouth or white wine, and a few oldsters even use crimson wine or port. Take your pick; they may be all accurate.
Next comes the stock, that is the second most crucial aspect of the soup. Traditionally, the inventory of desire for French onion soup is pork inventory, but beef inventory is very time-ingesting to make at home, and store-bought versions are so terrible, they’re not well worth considering.
Chicken inventory is therefore your quality option, and it produces absolutely terrific results. By some distance the best you may do is homemade chicken stock. Use exact caramelized onions and homemade inventory, and you will have a soup that might not even want the cheese to be delicious.
With our building blocks in place, the very last step is fixing up the bowls for serving.
I start via buttering heat croutons and rubbing them with garlic. Then inputting them into the broth within the bowl and end it with a completely generous grating of Gruyère cheese. Each spoonful ought to be a mixture of melted cheese, broth, gentle onions, and bread. Enjoy!