The Zamzows Table: French Onion Soup

The Zamzows Table: French Onion Soup

I don't know if there's a word for the feeling we get in the fall when our tastes and food preferences change, but it's hard to deny that it happens. Recently, I noticed even our dog's diet and food needs shifted. As the nights cooled and the mornings gained a crispness, my craving for heartier meals grew stronger. For reasons I can't fully explain, my desire to make French Onion soup became undeniable. I remember making it for the first time several years ago. Prior to that, I had never even tasted this classic dish. To my surprise, I discovered a depth of flavor from such humble ingredients. There's something about this meal that distinctly captures the essence of harvest time.

Ingredients From the Garden:
- 6 large yellow onions
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced

Ingredients From the Store:
- Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 8 cups beef or vegetable stock (if you prefer a vegetarian option)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Thyme
- French Baguette or French Bread
- 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese
- Parmesan cheese

Onion Prep:
1. Cut your onions in half lengthwise from the root to the stem. Remove the outer skins. Trim the tip and root ends by about 1/2 inch. Then slice your onions again lengthwise from root to tip in about 1/4-inch slices. Have your cooking pot nearby and add your onions to the pot as you work.
2. After finishing slicing your onions, add about two tablespoons of olive oil and stir to thoroughly coat your onions. Set your pot on the stove top over medium-low heat. Let your onions begin to soften for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. As the onions begin to brown, raise the heat to medium high. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and butter.
4. Continue stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes as the onions begin to caramelize. During this time, shred your cheese and slice your bread.
5. Add salt and continue to reduce and stir for another 10-15 minutes, until well browned and caramelized.
6. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
7. As the onions have caramelized and reduced, add your minced garlic and cook for another few minutes.

Bread Prep:
1. Arrange your bread on a large baking sheet.
2. Brush olive oil over the top of each slice. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
3. Top with shredded Gruyere and save some cheese for serving.
4. Bake in your preheated oven for several minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread toasts.

Soup Time:
1. Deglaze your pot, using your dry white wine. You can omit the white wine with a little extra beef or vegetable stock.
2. Now add your beef or vegetable stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes.
3. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
4. Reduce heat and cover until ready to serve.

1. Ladle your soup into a large bowl. I prefer a bowl with high sides. Leave enough room for your bread.
2. Top your soup with a piece of cheesy bread and any extra Gruyere.
3. Grate some fresh Parmesan over the top and enjoy!

French onion soup is one of my favorite meals to make. The low-intensity process creates a hearty and delicious meal with just a touch of sweetness. The bread and cheese topping bring it all together. Enjoy your time making this meal; there's no need to rush. Give yourself the time to relax, take in the aromas, make yourself a snack, invite some friends over, or just sit with your family and have a chat.

Download Recipe

Try making your own French Bread for this recipe.