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Simplest French Onion Soup

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As much as I love cooking with the oven for ease, sometimes I do use the stove top to make dinner. Especially for simple, hands-(mostly)-off soups, such as this one. The total cooking time approaches an hour and a half, but you hardly have to pay attention to it. You just need to be around. Timers are very handy here. Set one for every 20 minutes or so, just to remind you to give it a stir.


I served mine over rice with just a little bit of grated swiss-style cheese. (Called ‘Queso Pategras' here in Argentina.) I did crusty bread and extra cheese for my husband. Feel free to omit the dairy altogether for a totally vegan version that is delicious straight-up. And without the bread it's also gluten-free, of course.


You can use bouillon instead of stock in this recipe, just make sure it’s good stuff. A lot of the cubes and powders aren’t so tasty, and they will negatively affect the flavor of the soup. If you’re not sure, use just plain water.


I think the fresh thyme is critical. (If you don’t have any, you can try dried or another substitute, though I can’t vouch for the results.) Tie the sprigs of thyme into a little bundle with string to make them easy to remove, or just pick them out with the bay leaves before serving.


It's a simple and classy meal. And I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how delicious and satisfying it is.







Recipe for The Easiest French Onion Soup




1/4 cup olive oil

6 large onions- cut in half and then into 1/4" slices stem-to-base

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Torrontes, the local white here, but you can use what you’ve got)

6 cups stock (I used water and two good vegetarian bouillon cubes)

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves



grated swiss-style cheese

crusty bread or brown rice




In a large soup pot, toss the prepared onions with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook covered over medium low for 40-50 minutes. You can leave it alone for the first 30-35. After that, check and stir every 10 or so. You want the onions to get very soft and nicely browned. If at any point the onions are drying out of sticking, check that the heat is on low and add a little more olive oil, if necessary.


Then add the dry white wine and stir well to deglaze the pan.


Next add the stock, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and let slowly come to a boil over low, for a total of about 30 minutes more. (Counting from when you add these final ingredients.)


Turn off the heat, stir, add salt and pepper to taste (mine didn’t need any more). Let cool enough to serve.


Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.


If using the bread or rice and cheese, I put the bread or rice in the bottom of the bowl and add the soup to about 3/4 full. Then add a layer of cheese (and possibly more crusty bread) and top with more hot soup which will nicely melt the cheese.


You could go the extra step of broiling in the oven, but I don’t have soup bowls that can stand up to that, and I also wasn't willing to do the extra work either :)





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