French Onion Soup is one of my favourite soups to eat, but not to make. This version of the soup includes Jack Daniels whiskey for a bit of depth to the flavour.
French Onion Soup can be cooked in any large pot or dutch oven, and is fairly simple to make. It is time consuming, but well worth it.
My version uses a fair bit of butter, but this is due to the fact that I use a fairly large enabled cast iron dutch oven to cook it in. If you are using a smaller pot, you can use less butter. The butter should coat the bottom of the pot fully when melted. If there is not enough butter in the pot, the onions may burn easier. The extra butter helps ensure that the onions do not burn as easily.
If you do not have Jack Daniel’s, you can use a dry sherry, or dry red wine.
Because only a small amount of whisky is used, the finished product does not have a strong whisky flavour to it. But adding the whisky does add a nice depth of flavour to the finished product.
You will need broiler-safe bowls if you will be finishing the soup in the traditional method with bread or croutons, and cheese floated on the top.
French Onion Soup
A deeply flavored version of French Onion Soup using Jack Daniel's for added depth
Preparing The Onions
Roughly chop the onions.Some recipes call for slicing the onions, but I prefer the soup when the onions are roughly chopped. They are also easier to brown and caramelize when they are chopped, rather than sliced.
Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Once butter is foaming, add the onions to the dutch oven. Stir to coat the onions in the butter.
Once the onions have softened, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook. Stirring frequently. If the onions begin to burn, reduce the heat, and add some water (about a tablespoon at a time).
Continue to cook until the onions are a dark mahogany and are sweet and tender, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. This may take two to three hours.
Building The Soup
Add the Jack Daniels to the pot, and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a simmer deglazing the pan and scrapping up any browned bits.
Simmer until the alcohol smell is gone (should take about 5 minutes).
Add the stock and bay leaf.
Simmer soup for 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, add the apple cider vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Finishing And Serving (optional)
Pre-heat the broiler and move oven rack to the first or second highest position.
Ladle soup into broiler safe french onion soup bowls, leaving some room in the bowl for the croutons and cheese.
Float the croutons in the soup, and top with cheese.
Broil the soup bowls until the cheese starts to brown and is melted. Don't let it burn. Should take about 5 minutes.
Remove the bowls from the oven, and serve.
You can skip the whiskey, all together, or use a dry sherry if you prefer.
You may be able to use less butter in your dutch oven as well, using a single stick, if you have a smaller dutch oven.
If you don't have croutons, you can top with toasted bread, cut to fit the bowls as well.
If you don't have Gruyère cheese, you can use Havarti, Parmesan, or Mozzarella, or a mix. Smoked Havarti adds an interesting flavour to the finished soup.