This easy and authentic super savory French onion soup recipe is a staple in many restaurants, and will wow party guests at your next get together. As a former chef I am used to making this in 5 gallon batches in giant commercial equipment, but I have pared the recipe down to a more suitable 4 to 6 serving version for the home cook here.
You will need a pot with a capacity of about 4 quarts for best results, and a piece of cheesecloth and kitchen string or a metal tea ball to steep the herbs. You will also need oven safe stoneware bowls and/or an oven sheet
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups beef broth
1 cup cabernet sauvignon or merlot
3 or 4 large yellow onions
2 tablespoons finely diced garlic
3 tablespoons finely diced shallot
2 springs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
3 bay leaves
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns or ground black pepper
1 loaf French bread
1 package sliced Swiss cheese
1. Mix beef and chicken bouillon with hot water and stir, then set aside. Julienne the onions and finely dice the garlic and shallots.
2. Heat the oil and add the onions. Stir these frequently (nearly constantly) on medium heat until caramelized fairly well. They should be sweet tasting yet still a bit firm when nearly done.
3. During the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking add the garlic and shallot and let the aroma of the garlic bloom before deglazing the pan with the red wine.
4. Create a sachet with the metal tea ball or cheesecloth and string containing the fresh thyme, rosemary (if desired), bay leaves and peppercorns. Place this in the pan.
5. Add the beef and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil before reducing heat to low and simmering for about 30 minutes. During this time it is a good idea to preheat the oven to about 400 degrees.
6. Place slices of Swiss cheese (and shredded parmesan if desired) onto slices of French bread and place them on an oiled oven sheet in the oven until toasted and cheese is melted and begins to brown on top. You may utilize the broiler setting to achieve the desired effect. Float the cheesy bread on top of the bowl of soup and serve steaming hot!
If you have oven safe bowls you can toast the bread and float it on the bowl of soup covered with cheese, then place in oven and allow the cheese to cook on top of the soup. I recommend placing the bowls on an oven sheet two at time when using this method to make removing them from the oven safer and easier. Garnish with fresh parsley or scallions and Enjoy!