foolproof french onion soup ... from scratch!

It's soup season folks! And isn't the best kind of soup one you can bake in the oven with bread and cheese? Last night I decided to make a French onion soup because, swiss! And French bread!

I always just assumed this soup was was really hard or complicated to make, but happily, neither of those things are true! So even if you're not so comfortable in the kitchen, I have a non-recipe here for you that is super easy. For my soup I used:

3 medium to large yellow onions
2 medium red onions (you could do all red or all yellow, it doesn't matter)
Half a stick of butter (you can do salted or unsalted, it doesn't matter, you can add salt later if you want)
Approximately 1 Tbsp (more or less, to taste) of Better than Bouillon beef base
Approximately 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette (optional)
A few small shakes of ground thyme (optional)
1 baguette (or crusty French bread, or Italian bread, or any bread, really!)
Swiss cheese, sliced (or shredded, or Gruyere which is even more delicious, but kind of expensive)

I chopped all of the onions like this (the first method). I melted my butter in a big pot over medium heat and threw in all of my onions. I put in the balsamic vinaigrette and thyme (your onions will create a really wonderful flavor on their own, you don't really have to add these things if you don't want to, or don't have them on hand). I cooked the onions over medium heat, stirring every five minutes or so until they became very reduced and began getting browned, for about 30 minutes. I wanted to cook them for longer, but I felt a little rushed. If you're not in a hurry, definitely cook for longer (45-60 minutes is best), just be sure to keep stirring so they don't burn, and reduce heat as needed.

I filled my pot with water about 3/4 to 2/3 full and stirred in my beef base. I tested the broth after the base had dissolved and it didn't taste strong enough so I added a little more. It's best to start with less than you think you'll need. You can always add but you cannot subtract.

I let this simmer for about twenty minutes. Again, I'd like to have let it go longer, but by now I was hungry and still feeling rushed. You can let yours go as long as you can stand it. 30 minutes is best.

Anyway, when it was done enough I ladled some into an oven-safe bowl. I sliced the bread on a bias and put two pieces on top. On that, I laid two slices of swiss cheese (one would suffice, I happen to be a glutton). I warmed the broiler on my oven, and put the bowl of soup on a baking sheet. I put it under the broiler for a few minutes. You really ought to WATCH it while it's under the broiler. I cannot tell you how many times I've burnt things this way. You can see in the picture, that even though I was watching this, it still got a little over-toasted.

When the cheese starts to bubble and brown a bit, it's done!

This soup was really good! The first part, with the onions, is a little time consuming, granted, but it's well worth it and it's so easy! You could add so much to this, too. Worcestershire sauce is a common ingredient, as is wine, chicken broth, different herbs. Look up a few recipes online and see what sounds good to you!

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