And the slow cooker magic continues!
I recently found out that you can caramelize onions in a slow cooker.
I love caramelized onions, but I do not like making them, because to get them perfectly mellow and sweet and not burned requires patience, like a thirty or forty-five minutes worth of standing at the stove level of patience that I don't often have. But with a slow cooker, you can literally throw your onions in the crock, walk away, enjoy your day, and come back to a pile of perfectly caramelized goodness. Yes, please. Add in some homemade oxtail broth and you have yourself a pretty amazing french onion soup.
In fact, I have to admit this soup is pretty much the reason I decided to make bone broth using oxtail. A friend and I used to go sometimes to this French bistro in my neighborhood that had a great rose selection and the best french onion soup I'd ever had, made with oxtail broth. The restaurant has since closed, but I still think about that soup sometimes, and so I decided to try to replicate it using my slow cooker. I think I got pretty close!
Even if you don't make your own broth, this soup is delicious, and so easy to do on a weekend day while you get errands done or go have fun, and at the end of the day you can curl up with a bowl of soup that tastes like you spent hours standing at the stove to make it, except you didn't, and isn't that the dream?
Easy French Onion Soup
Serves 4. Caramelized onion method adapted from Jonathan Reynolds.
For the soup:
1 lb onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tbs butter
generous pinch of salt
1 tsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried thyme
4 cups oxtail broth (or other beef broth)
splash of brandy
For the cheese toasts:
1 small baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices
gruyere cheese, sliced thinly or shredded
1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Caramelize the onions. In a slow cooker, add the onions, 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar, butter and salt, and cook for at least 6 hours on low, until onions are softened and caramelized.
- Add flour and another Tbs balsamic vinegar to the onions and stir to combine, then add a tsp of salt, dried thyme, and the broth. Cook on low for at least 2 hours. The soup will be done at this point but the longer you cook it the more intense the flavors will be. When ready to serve, stir in a splash of brandy.
- To serve: butter baguette slices and toast on both sides under the broiler, add a couple slices of gruyere to each slice and place back under the broiler until cheese is melted and turning golden. Ladle soup into bowls and place two cheese toasts in each bowl. Garnish with the parsley.