This is every cook’s opinion –
no savory dish without an onion,
but lest your kissing should be spoiled
your onions must be fully boiled.
French Onion Soup with Sourdough Crouton and Gruyere Cheese
_ _ It’s the small victories that make me the happiest– perhaps because not many “big” victories have come my way– but I choose to think that I simply appreciate the subtleties in life. For example, I spent 10 minutes this afternoon trying to pry the cap off my lipgloss, finally resorting to using the knife on a wine screw, and I rejoiced riotously (ok, with a silent fist pump… I was at work and I don’t want to talk about why I have a wine screw in my purse) when it finally came flying off. I celebrate when a person trying to pass in the right lane gets cut off and has to drop back; I’m delighted when the song I want to illegally download is on Limewire and doesn’t turn out to be an automated recording reprimanding me for pirating music; and I’m on cloud nine when a recipe that I try ends up being a delicious meal. I give you: slow cooker french onion soup!
2 Sweet Onions, peeled, halved and sliced thinly into crescents
1 clove Garlic, very finely chopped or put through a garlic press
2 tbsp Butter
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Cognac
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
4 cups Beef Broth/Stock
(optional: replace one cup of the stock with a cup of the beer of your choice)
1 bunch Thyme (4-5 sprigs tied in a bundle with string)
1 Bay Leaf
Pepper to taste
Gruyere Cheese (colby jack or a mild white cheddar cheese would work just as well)
Chives, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat your slow cooker on high while you prep the onion and garlic. Add the butter to the crock pot and when melted, throw in the onions, garlic and tomato paste and toss to coat. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir again. Allow the onion mixture to cook on high for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are beginning to get soft, some may even get a little brown around the edges (mine didn’t really, they just softened and got juicy).
2. After the 45 minutes, add the cognac, balsamic, and salt; stir to coat all the onions and “deglaze” the pot… as in, use the added liquid to get all the little pieces of onion that may be sticking to the bottom to loosen up and get back in the mix. Cook on high for another 20 minutes.
3. Add the stock (and beer if using) and give it one last good stir. Put the bunch of thyme and bay leaf on top of the broth (I recommend trying to keep them on top, even if you stir the soup a little once in a while because I spent forever searching for the bay leaf when I lost it somewhere in the soup). Turn the crock pot to Low and cook for 6-8 hours.
4. When it’s ready, ladle the soup into ramekins that are oven-safe and turn on the broil in your oven. Top the soup with a round piece of sourdough bread (I toasted mine first so it wouldn’t get soggy too fast) and some grated cheese. Put the ramekins on a cookie sheet under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with some chives and enjoy!
Here’s the original, horrifying photo that accompanied this post; try not to throw up: