This is an absolutely delicious way of making French onion soup. The key is to use a lot of onions, a lot of time, good bread and a decent cheese.
You need a little beef. Do not use beef cubes. They are nothing but unhealthy sodium. The reason you're making this in a slow cooker is that this recipe, done right, is very time-consuming. You don't want to be at the stove top for hours, watching this. A few minutes at the stove and a few hours at the slow cooker.
This is a slow cooker recipe, which takes time. If you taste this after about 4 hours, you will discover that the flavors have not adequately blended into each other. The soup will taste bland, because cooking is all about the chemical changes. Chemical changes take time.
Slow cooker, 10 to 12 cups of cold water.
2-4 pounds of onions
3 ounces of beef
Flour (for the beef)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbls brown sugar
Dash Worcestershire sauce, optional
2 -3 cups dry white wine
Whole-grain bread or baguette, 1 slice of bread per bowl, or a baguette sliced in quarters and then halved, lengthwise.
Cheese, 3 ounces per person, your choice of cheese. Preferably Gruyere, Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, Gouda, Edam or a Cheddar. If you're feeling really French, a fresh Brie.
Time: Prep 30 minutes.
Cook time: 8-12 hours.
1. Rinse a 3-ounce slice of beef, then flour it. Make sure it is floured thoroughly. Set aside.
2. In a hot frying pan, lay 2 pounds of sliced onions on a bed of olive-oil margarine. Heat on medium for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Adjust heat to high for 5 to 10 minutes, so the onions will brown. Stir frequently. Adjust heat to medium high, if the onions become too browned.
3. When the onions are browned, turn the heat off and set them aside.
4. Slice another pound of onions and place in a slow cooker, with 4 to 6 cups of water. Turn the slow cooker on high. Cover. Wait 30 minutes.
5. Place the floured beef in the slow cooker. Do not stir.
6. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper liberally in the slow cooker. Cover.
7. Place the browned onions into the slow cooker, stir gently. Cover and cook for an hour on high.
8. Add 1 Tbls brown sugar. Stir gently. Cover. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, then turn slow cooker to low and cook another 2 to 3 hours for a total of 4 to 6 hours.
You should see the liquid become brown, with the beef and the browned onions. After a few hours, you will notice the flavor aroma becoming quite like French onion soup. Do not add salt to this soup. There is more than enough salt in the margarine. The flavor should be that of onion, beef, margarine and white wine.
9. You can add a dash of Worcestershire sauce, if you like.
10. Wait another hour. Cook time should be about 8 hours now. You can let it simmer for another 4 hours. Taste it to see if the chemical changes have occurred. Onions are very healthy and 3 pounds of onions for about 4 people = 8-12 servings is quite a healthy dish. Low sodium.
11. Lift the cover. If it begins to smell like Soupe a la Oignon Francaise, then pour 1/2 cup of dry white wine into the slow cooker. Stir once and cover. Let cook another hour on low. When the soup is browned and smells like it's done, it's done.
12. When the soup is done, take a slice of whole-grain bread, 1 slice per person. Cut the slice in half. Brown it in a toaster oven or toaster or an oven until the bread is crusty through and through.
13. Slice the cheese, about 3 by 4 inches per person.
14. Melt the cheese on the bread in a microwave for 30 seconds on high.
15. Serve the soup in small or medium-sized bowls, as shown. You can add a few spoons of white wine to the soup bowl. Simply delicious!
Other photos are in the tray.