I love making soups on the beautiful, cool fall days and miserable cold winter days of Minnesota. Why? Not only does soup warm up you and the kitchen, it is easy to make. You don’t have to be precise in measuring, unlike baking recipes, and you can often improvise recipes by adding the vegetables and herbs you have on hand.
This week, cool temperatures and a sale on onions at the store prompted me to make Country-Style French Onion Soup. This soup is richly-flavored and filled with tender onions, savory bread croutons, and melted cheese topping.
I have been making this recipe for a few years now. The first time I tried it was to re-create soup we had in a restaurant. The second time I made it was because the recipe was not only easy, but tastes like I’ve spent the day in the kitchen!
For this recipe, you’ll get the soup started and then make the croutons while the soup’s bubbling away. Trust me - you’ll be sitting down to eat in under an hour.
To start, slice the onions. I started with three onions thinking they were bigger than the "medium" onions called for. I had just over four cups after chopping two. Because portions aren’t so critical in soup, I used a bit more onion than the four cups.
I melted the butter and then cooked down the onions and ½ teaspoon of garlic (I used a small clove). Stir them occasionally, and wait until they are tender and golden brown. Wow, did the house smell good!
Once the onions were ready, I added the water, broth and chopped parsley. Because I bought larger cans (14.5 ounce) of beef broth, I decreased my water by about 6 ounces (3/4 cup).
Next I added the country-style Dijon mustard and the basil, pepper, and thyme. These seasonings bring so many flavors to this soup!
While the soup was cooking, I put the butter into my 13 x 9-inch cake pan to melt in the oven.
I cubed a portion of a loaf of French bread from the store. In the past I’ve used leftover baguette and even rye bread – feel free to improvise!
Add the basil and garlic to the butter and give it a stir. By the way, don’t feel you must use basil. If you are out of basil, you can add some dried Italian seasoning or a small amount of thyme instead.
Mix bread cubes in the butter and seasoning.
Return the pan back into the oven for 12 minutes, stirring once or twice. Once the croutons are done, just put them in a bowl and set them aside. One note of caution: At my house we could double the amount of croutons and not have enough! They become a snack item within moments of being taken out of the oven!
To serve, pour the soup into oven-proof bowls. Place 1 slice of cheese into each bowl. I used provolone this time, but have had great luck with Muenster, Swiss, or mozzarella, too. I find it easiest to put the bowls on a baking sheet for transferring to the oven.
Bake 7-10 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned. For more speed, I popped my tray under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on it so the cheese doesn’t burn! Top the soup with the croutons.
When you pair a bowl of this soup with a simple salad, you have a perfect evening meal or hearty lunch. This soup also makes an elegant start to a nice dinner as well.
One more thing…I have made this soup and the croutons ahead. I store the croutons at room temperature in an airtight container. The soup requires refrigeration, but when you are ready to serve, just reheat the soup, put the cheese on top, and brown it.
Let me know how you like Country-Style French Onion Soup. I’d love to hear about other soups you are making!
Come back in a few days when Becky will share a quick weeknight supper.
Vicky is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.