Whether you’ve seen Game of Thrones or not, its likely you’re familiar with the phrase “winter is coming.” Turns out winter is already here in the Northeast. It’s mid-December and we’ve had our first snowfall and below freezing temps which means it’s officially soup season.
When I think about comfort food, French Onion Soup leads the pack by a mile. Why? It’s a savory soup, topped with melted cheese and crusty bread that’s filling and warms the soul on a cold winter day.
In my search for new recipes to tinker with, I thought, who better to know how to make French Onion Soup than the people that grow onions. This Slow Cooker French Onion Soup recipe is inspired by our onion supplier Peri & Sons with a few tweaks of our own.
About Peri & Sons Organic Onion Farm
More than 100 years ago, three ambitious and hopeful Italian immigrants chased a dream straight into the harbor of New York City. It was there, amid scores of excited, shouting passengers that the first leg of their voyage ended. And it was there that the real journey began.
The New World offered the three brothers (David Peri’s grandfather and his great uncles) the simple promise of opportunity — that with a little luck and a lot of hard work, they could one day farm land of their own. Standing on that ship the brothers had no idea that their humble dreams would bear such amazing fruit just three generations later. It is still amazing to think that David’s grandfather’s quest to farm in America inspired a family-farming heritage that lead to the family farm we have today ─ actually one of the biggest seed-to-store onion operations in the world.
How to Make French Onion Soup
The inner working of French onion soup are quite simple. Caramelizing the onions is the longest process that requires patience to get them just right. The good news is using our garlic onion sauce, you can be enjoying your French onion soup in minutes and you won’t need a slow cooker to do it.
The rest of the process involves adding some high quality beef stock, a really good bread and the right type of cheese that will melt and add flavor. You’ll want to use some fresh herbs like Thyme and as Peri & Sons recommends, a shot of booze.
Here’s where one of my twists comes into play. The original recipe calls for Sherry wine and brandy but I’m a bourbon guy. I substituted the brandy for bourbon and have to say that caramel nutty flavor it brought to the soup was a great compliment to the Gruyere cheese.
What Type of Cheese to Use
The gold standard for French onion soup is Gruyere cheese and I wasn’t going to mess with this classic element. I found an applewood smoked Gruyere at my local market that really paired well with all the elements of the soup.
Unfortunately Gruyere cheese can be a bit pricey. So here are a few alternatives you can try that will still give you that ooey gooey cheesy goodness without breaking the bank.
- Swiss Cheese
- Muenster Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup Recipe
Step 1: Throw out your slow cooker! Yay!
1 Jar Big Lou’s Garlic Onion Sauce
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon bourbon
4 cups organic beef stock
1 tablespoon flour
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
Celtic Grey Salt and pepper
4 1″ thick slices of French bread
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
Heat a large, heavy bottom skillet to medium-high and add Big Lou’s Garlic Onion Sauce, shallots, flour, sherry and bourbon. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. NOTE: if you are using a gas range, turn off the flame before adding the bourbon as it is highly flammable and you do not want to start a fire. Once brandy has been added, turn flame back on and continue to cook.
Once liquid has reduced, turn off heat and add onion mixture to a stock pot cooker along with the beef stock and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
To finish, ladle about a cup of soup into an oven-proof crock. Butter one slice of bread, place on top of soup and top with an ounce of gruyere cheese. Place crock on a baking sheet and broil until cheese is golden and melted which should take about 5 minutes.