When I was a kid I was a picky eater, to put it mildly. Taking me to a restaurant was always a huge ordeal because my parents had to first check to make sure that restaurant had something I would eat. Not only was I a picky eater, but soup was my least favorite food of all. However, there was one soup that my mother made for me that was and is still one of my all-time favorite foods. That is her 7 ingredients french onion soup with homemade croutons on the side. In this article, I am going to share with you how to make this generations-tested family recipe.
One of the most important things that you have to do correctly when making French onion soup, is caramelizing the onions. We have all seen the many commercials on TV that use pictures of perfectly caramelized onions to show off their food. It sounds like it would be something easy to replicate, but when you try it at home it never turns out looking the same as it does at restaurants. Have you ever wondered why that is? It is because they sprinkle on a small amount of baking soda to the onions as they are cooking. This helps the onions to caramelize faster and produce that restaurant-style color and taste.
- 1 Cup Red Wine
- 2 14.5 Ounce Cans of Beef Broth
- 1 Packet of Swiss Cheese Slices
- 2 Large Onions, Thinly Sliced
- 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
- 1/8 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Large Loaf Store-Bought French French Bread
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 1 Tablespoon of Garlic Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Start by heating up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Cut up the two large onions into thin slices and add them to the skillet. Season onions with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda over the onions. Stir the baking soda into the onions and then stir the mixture occasionally for 15 minutes until the onions are caramelized.
- Once your onions have caramelized, add 1 cup of red wine into the same skillet. Boil the mixture for about 5 minutes to ensure that all the alcohol from the wine has cooked out. Then add two cans of 14.5-ounce beef broth. Simmer for 10 minutes to complete the soup base.
- Once the soup base is done you want to start on the croutons. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Cut 1 large loaf of store-bought french bread into 1-inch cube-shaped pieces. Place bread pieces on oven tray and toast for 15 minutes at 300 degrees.
Cooking Tip: Store-bought french bread is recommended because it tends to be much firmer than homemade because it has had a lot of time to dry out. This firmness helps the croutons hold their shape in the soup.
- Next, add 1/2 cup butter, 1 tablespoon garlic salt, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika to a medium-sized microwaveable bowl. Microwave until butter is melted and stir ingredients. Brush toasted bread pieces lightly with the seasoned butter.
- Pour soup base into a standard sized coffee mug. Leave 1 inch of free space at the top for croutons and swiss cheese slices. Add croutons first on top of or into the soup base in the coffee mug. Then add 1 or 2 slices of swiss cheese to the top of the cup, completely covering the top. Place coffee mug in the oven and broil until cheese is golden brown. You can repeat this for as cups of French soup you want.
So this is how my mother has always made it for me. You can, of course, eat it other ways. If you just want to pour a bunch in a big bowl and top it with croutons and cheese, that works great too.