Monday, October 1, 2012

Meatless Monday: French Onion Soup in the Crock Pot

French Onion Soup, that's another food I wasn't introduced to until later in my life. I can't recal the first time I had it, but I very much enjoy it now. Back before we moved, I used to frequent Panera Bread, and 99% of the time I would order French Onion Soup. There's just something about the rich tasting broth, with the sweet onions, crispy bread/croutons and ooey gooey melty cheese on top. It's decadent and comforting.

For some reason, I've always been too intimidated to make French Onion Soup at home, maybe it has something to do with caramelizing the onions for like an hour on low heat. I hate cooking things on low heat... I don't know why, I just do. Anyway, you can imagine my utter excitement and delight when I came across this recipe that uses the crock pot. Instead of babysitting the caramelized onions at the stove, you cook the onions on high in the crock pot and stir a few times for an hour. Then, like basically every other crock pot recipe out there, you add in the rest of your ingredients and forget about it. Another thing I liked about this recipe is the addition of balsamic vinegar while caramelizing the onions, and instead of adding wine to the caramelized onions, you add dark beer. YUM.

This recipe was really easy, but you do need to remember to allot yourself an hour or so to let your onions caramelize. For me, my onions didn't actually caramelize. It seemed like there was a lot of liquid in the pot for that to happen. So my onions sweat instead of caramelize. Another idea for soup topping is using day old (or toasted) bread cubes, like croutons instead of a slice of bread over the top. It's a little easier to eat, and you have more bread to go around.

The verdict? My husband said this is the best French Onion Soup he's ever had, and my sometimes picky toddler ate it too. For me, it was good, but it didn't have all of the "fireworks" I was looking for. So I shall continue on in my quest to make a delicious French Onion Soup, and it may require me babysitting caramelizing onions. I've come to terms with that, and I feel good about it. But, for an easy first-timer recipe, it was great! Besides, how can you go wrong with yummy bread and ooey gooey cheese?!

Crock-pot French Onion Soup from How Sweet Eats

[adapted from Tyler Florence]

makes a giant pot, about 8-10 servings

4 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used my favorite Colvatia)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

8 ounces of beer, the darker the better

64 ounces of low-sodium beef stock

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, I used about 2t dried

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

French bread - Check back tomorrow for the easy recipe I used!

gruyere cheese

Set your crock pot on high, then add onions, garlic, brown sugar, butter, salt and balsamic and mix until combined. Cover and let cook for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are a bit caramely and brown on the edges. Add in flour, then stir thoroughly and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in beer, beef stock, thyme, and pepper, then turn heat down to low, cover and cook for 6-8 hours.

Before serving, cut french bread or baguette into slices. Fill soup bowls to the top, then cover with slice of bread and a slice of cheese. Set under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Be careful when serving as bowls will be hot!

Note: I used a very low-sodium beef stock, so depending on the stock you use, add additional salt for flavor if desired.


  1. You can't have meatless monday with beef stock....

  2. To make it truly meatless, use vegetable broth.
    To make it vegan, use a non-dairy cheese product.