We’re putting a fun twist on a classic today and (not quite reinventing the wheel, but) adding a little something extra to a traditional winter recipe. French onion soup, that is. While we’re still taking a pretty typical approach to this dish, we went ahead and added in pearl onions in addition to the standard, sliced yellow onion. They add delicious pops of sweetness, but still add a little zing, since they don’t cook all the way down the way the sliced onions do. You guys, this soup is so amazing, you should absolutely try it this way and see what you think!
If you love French onion soup but haven’t quite gotten around to making it, because it seems intimidating – don’t worry, it’s s(o)uper easy! (Food puns get us every time….) Caramelizing onions, once you realize there’s really nothing to it, is a breeze. Low heat, plus 20 minutes of checking in on them and stirring them every once in a while is all you have to do. The onions will soften and turn translucent first, then eventually brown and their natural sugars will be released and they’ll turn into magical bits of goodness.
What makes our recipe special though, is the presence of the pearl onions. They’re sweet as well, but they retain a bit of their original flavor, so with each bite of soup you get the extra sweet, yellow onions, plus a pop of flavor that takes the whole thing to the next level. To the onions we add a little bit of balsamic vinegar for added tang, plus red wine to deglaze the pan and help scrape up any of the flavorful bits that are stuck to the bottom; those are crucial for flavor and not to be forgotten about! Give this a shot some night this week and see how good it is – you’ll be hooked after the first bite.
Pearl Onion Soup
45 minutes to prepare serves 6-8
- 1 (14.4 oz.) bag frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained
- 4 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup preferred red wine
- 2 (32 oz.) containers beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups Swiss or gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Heat butter and olive oil in a stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add pearl onions and sliced yellow onions.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until softened and translucent and beginning to brown.
- Stirring frequently to prevent burning, continue cooking onions until caramelized.
- Season with sage and thyme, then add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar and red wine to deglaze pan, making sure to scrape up browned bits on bottom of pan.
- Pour in beef stock and bay leaves, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to broil setting.
- For croutons, whisk together melted butter, garlic and onion powders in a small bowl, then brush over French bread until coated.
- Slice into thick cubes, then place in an even layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and broil for 3-5 minutes, keeping an eye on the bread so it doesn’t burn.
- Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with cheese and garlic croutons. Optional: pour soup into oven-proof bowls and top with cheese and croutons, then place in oven and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven and serve hot. Enjoy!