Quicker French Onion Soup

Published January 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:

We found that the secret to a rich onion soup recipe was caramelizing the onions fully and then deglazing the pot several times, using a combination of water, chicken broth, and beef broth. To finish our onion soup recipe, we toasted the bread before floating it in the soup to ward off… read more

We found that the secret to a rich onion soup recipe was caramelizing the onions fully and then deglazing the pot several times, using a combination of water, chicken broth, and beef broth. To finish our onion soup recipe, we toasted the bread before floating it in the soup to ward off sogginess and added a modest sprinkling of nutty Gruyère.

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Serves 6

Sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, will make this recipe overly sweet. Be patient when caramelizing the onions in step 2; the entire process takes 45 to 60 minutes. Use broiler-safe crocks and keep the rim of the bowls 4 to 5 inches from the heating element to obtain a proper gratinée of melted, bubbly cheese. If using ordinary soup bowls, sprinkle the toasted bread slices with Gruyère and return them to the broiler until the cheese melts, then float them on top of the soup. We prefer Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Pacific Beef Broth. For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe. This variation uses a microwave for the initial cooking of the onions, which dramatically reduces the cooking time. The soup's flavor, however, will not be quite as deep as with the stovetop method. If you don't have a microwave-safe bowl large enough to accommodate all of the onions, cook in a smaller bowl in 2 batches.

Ingredients

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