There's nothing more comforting than coming in from a cold day to a bowl of piping-hot soup. And this Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup
recipe has become my go-to. Here's why.
My family has their favorites—Dad always wants chicken noodle soup with matzo balls and Mom prefers seafood-heavy cioppino—but since learning to make French onion soup in culinary school, I can't get enough of the cheesy-topped broth. It only requires a few staple ingredients, but every bite feels so luxurious.
Creating the best, sweet French onion soup flavor requires a little patience. Some soups only take minutes to make, but a good French onion soup needs hours. Lots and lots of them. The most important step—the long, steady cooking time—causes the natural sugars in the onions to slowly caramelize into sweet, rich strands that get so soft they melt into the broth. I've seen some recipes that try to "fake" the long caramelization time by adding sugar, but why add unnecessary sugar if you don't have to?
Funny enough, I don't actually have a ton of patience. In fact, until I started developing this recipe for Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup
, I hadn't had a bowl of it in years, because I'm never home all day to tend to the onions. But the magic of this recipe is that it lets the slow cooker do all the work for you by taking 4 pounds of onions and slowly melting them into the caramelized onions that characterize the best soup base.
All you have to do is load the onions into the slow cooker—along with thyme, garlic and a bay leaf—and press "start." Eight hours later, add some sherry-spiked broth and make your cheese toasts. If you have broiler-safe bowls, ladle the soup into them, top with a piece of baguette and sprinkle with Gruyère cheese. Pop them under the broiler until the cheese gets all gooey and starts to brown. Then the soup is ready to enjoy.
Now all you need is a glass of French red wine. My pick? A cru Beaujolais from Morgon, Julienas or Brouilly.