We had the awesome opportunity to travel to Paris, France over the holiday season. So. Freaking. Amazing. The history, the art, the architecture, the food, the food and the food awakened my senses like I could never have predicted! The first night in our hotel, we went for room service French onion soup, starting what became a daily must have. We ate it to warm us at the Christmas markets as we browsed the handmade soaps, colorful macaroons and stands filled with endless gifts, pastries and foods. By the time we landed back in Indiana, I already needed a fix. I asked Google how to make French Onion Soup just like they made it in France, and landed on a couple of recipes to give me a starting point, but then just made it my own. I tested out various combos until it tasted just like I remembered. Caramelizing the onions is key, and is about 30 minutes hands on, but then the crockpot takes over and you are free until serving time. Here is what I did!
(Serves about 10-12 bowls, depending on size)
12 tablespoons butter
8 large yellow onions, sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoon white sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooking sherry
12 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
sea salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
8 slices of French bread
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
Begin by caramelizing the onions
Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat; cook and stir onions until they become translucent, about 10 minutes
Sprinkle onions with sugar; reduce heat to medium.
Stir constantly at least 30 minutes until onions are soft and brown.
Stir in garlic and cook about 1 minute.
Stir sherry into the onion mixture and scrape bottom of pot to dissolve any browned food.
Transfer to Crockpot
Transfer onions into a slow cooker and pour in beef broth.
Season to taste with sea salt; stir in thyme and bay leaf.
Cook on high in crockpot 4-6 hours or low 8-10 hours.
10 minutes before serving
Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet.
Broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Combine Gruyere, Swiss, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses in a bowl.
Fill soup crocks 1.5 inches from the top with soup and place bread slice on top of liquid.
Top with about 2 tablespoons of cheese mixture per bowl.
Place bowls onto a baking sheet, broiling until cheese topping is browned and bubbling, roughly 1.5 minutes.