The Lowly Onion Becomes Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
This recipe for Slow Cooker French Onion Soup allows the lowly onion, the bridesmaid never the bride of the culinary world, to show off its star quality. How many savory recipes, particularly soup recipes, can you think of that don’t include the onion? Not many! It always seems to be there….the little background note that is sliced and diced into obscurity in thousands of recipes. Poor little onion, a sort of Rodney Dangerfield of ingredients, that get’s it’s chance to be a headliner act in Slow Cooker French Onion Soup.
The Crock Pot or Slow Cooker (whatever you like to call it) is a busy Mom’s best Friend
I have been eating a lot of soup lately. Maybe it’s the dreary, grey stormy days that we’ve been having lately with snowstorms and ice storms and nights as cold as -20F, that makes a big bowl of steaming soup so comforting. Certainly the aroma of a big pot of soup fills the house a fragrance more appetizing than any potpourri. Sometimes I make soup on the kitchen woodstove but when I need the soup to take care of itself on those busy days that I can’t babysit the woodstove, I rely on my slow cooker. The good old crock pot has been my favorite small appliance for years. Without a doubt it made feeding a family that had a construction worker husband and three boys at lot easier. I bought my first one in 1976 and have never been without one since. Over the years I have perfected my slow cooker techniques and have quite a repertoire of recipes. This one for Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is a favorite because it is yummy, economical and so easy to prepare even a beginner can have great success with it.
Which is the best onion variety for French Onion Soup?
Luckily , the best onion to make French Onion Soup is the very easily obtained yellow onion. The yellow onion has lots of bright flavor and is sweet and mellow. The red onion is a little bitter and has less sweetness. Sweet onions like the Vidalia are mellow and sweet but the flavor is easily overpowered by the other ingredients.
Is it best to cook the onions before putting them in the slow cooker?
Note that the starting of this soup can be done in two ways – in the crock pot from the beginning or transferred from the sauté pan. Both come out good and starting it in the crock pot can save you time if you are in a rush. But consider these things. A raw onion can add a lot of moisture to the dish. So if you need to get it together quick, just throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and turn it on. But taking the slower route of caramelizing the onions in the sauté pan can add a depth of flavor that is truly yummy and improves the final texture! Try both and let us know what you think
What is the best cheese to use for French Onion Soup?
You want a cheese that has a mild nutty flavor and that will melt nicely under a broiler. My personal preference is Gruyere but it isn’t always easy to find and it is more expensive. A reasonably priced substitution is Swiss Cheese. It has a similar nutty flavor and will melt well for you. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, uses grated parmesan and no bread on top of the soup. I tried it. It was very good but it was different from traditional French Onion Soup. I’ll stay with my toasted baguette and Swiss/Gruyere!
Some other Wilderness Wife Slow Cooker Recipes –Print
Best Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup is so comforting and tasty on a chilly day. Preparing it in the crockpot makes it it easier for the busy mom. With a side salad it can easily be a complete meal.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 5-8 hours
- Total Time: 8 1/2 hours
- Category: Soup
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: French
6 tablespoons of butter
4 onions, sliced
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup of wine or cooking sherry (I prefer red wine)
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
8 cups of beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1 cup of grated cheese, Gruyere or Swiss
Melt butter in sauté pan.
Add onions, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. cook until caramelized and tender (15-20 minutes).
Add garlic and cook 3 minutes longer.
Pour onion from sauté pan to slow cooker.
Add wine to sauté pan to deglaze it. Be sure to loosen all the crusty bits from the bottom pan and pour the sauté pan contents into the slow cooker. I prefer a dry red wine but The Pioneer Woman uses a white wine. I have tried her recipe but I prefer the red wine as it seems to add more body.
Add the Worcestershire sauce to the slow cooker.
Tie bay leaves and thyme into a bundle with string (makes it easier to retrieve when done). Place herb bundle in crock pot.
Pour in 8 cups of beef broth.
Cook on high 4 – 5 hours 0r low for 7-8 hours.
Remove herb bundle.
Slice baguette into 1 inch thick pieces and place on a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle each slice liberally on each slice.
Put cookie sheet under broiler for 5 minutes or until bread is toasted and cheese has melted and begun to brown. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
Ladle soup into bowls and float the baguette slices on top to serve.