French Onion Soup

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French Onion Soup

For the past couple of weeks now I have received onions in my weekly CSA. For some odd reason, I haven’t been using a lot of onions. I think I use onions more in the winter for soups and stews and casseroles. So these little baskets of onions have been piling up in my basement, and what to do when you have oodles of onions??? Why make French onion soup of course. I began making French onion soup in college in my crockpot. Yes, I had a crockpot in college. I was incredibly domestic. Others made fun of me for being so boring, but hey, guess who’s apartment they always showed up for when I was making a pot roast or that ubiquitous pork chops in cream of mushroom soup??? Yeah, they weren’t making fun of me while they were scarfing down homecooked meals.

The recipe that I use is still the one from the cookbook I had in college: Mable Hoffman’s Crockery Cookery, Revised Edition. Now, actually that one on Amazon is a newer version! My book was published in 1975 and has a lovely burnt orange crockpot on the front (back when they were called crockpots and not the new hipper “slow cooker.” My book is falling apart (kind of like me, we are both old, people), but it has served me well. I could go find a fancier schmancier recipe, but when the classics work, might as well stick with them, though I do change it up a bit, using stock instead of bouillon cubes and Gruyere cheese instead of Parmesan. Also, I love the name Mable, I think it needs to make a comeback.

French Onion Soup
Serves 4

3 large onions, thinly sliced (or a whole mess of small ones)
1/2 cup butter
6 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 slices toasted French bread
1/4 cup (or more, lots more) Gruyere or Parmesan cheese (or both)

In a large cast iron skillet cook onions in butter until lightly browned (I did for about 45 minutes). In slow cooker, combine onions, broth, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours, or longer if need be. Preheat broiler. Ladle out soup into bowls, place a slice of toasted bread on top, sprinkle with cheese and broil until melted.

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  1. says

    Oooh, Fr. Onion Soup … yum! I love soup, and yours sounds and looks terrific! I like your substitutions; Gruyere is terrific! By the way, one of my first cookbooks is authored by Mabel Hoffman dated 1980. It’s an old HPBooks publication titled “Appetizers”, and I still have it. Um, I have a *thing* about cookbooks (kind of like you and magazines).:-) Your soup looks super!

  2. says

    I love French Onion Soup! I even bought the little stoneware crocks waaaayyyyy back when there were only 2 of us, so I could broil the cheese on top….so long ago…There are pages coming out of some of my cookbooks, too; it proves that they are well loved. And, we’ve earned the right to fall apart a little bit with our cookbooks, don’t you think?

  3. says

    you just don’t see french onion soup much anymore…at least i don’t. such a classic. nicely done. and i can call you mable from now on, if you’d like. :)

  4. Pam says

    Alexis – be sure and post a picture on your blog!

    Sandi – it’s really easy and there are lots of different versions.

    Paula – I have a thing about cookbooks too. I actually have a lot of *things*.

    Noble – thank you! As a child I was not so refined and wouldn’t eat it!

    Marjie – I want some of those crocks, the kind with the handle.

    Peter – yep. School starts on Friday and for me that means fall, I don’t care what the calender or thermometer says.

    Rita – give it a try!

    Grace – I know, you used to be able to get it all the time in fancy restaurants. I do like Mable and I love Grace.

  5. says

    I love french onion soup and have to order it at restaurants whenever I find it. My wife has banned onions from our home, so this is a tough soup for me to make, lol. But oh it looks so gooooooood

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