By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Lindsey of Café Johnsonia.
Yay! It’s time for another recipe in my slow-cooker series. I know. It’s summer and the last thing you’re probably wanting is a hot bowl of anything. But don’t let that stop you from entertaining the idea of French Onion Soup. It’s such a classic thing to eat. And it was made to be cooked in a slow cooker!
Is there anything better than a piece of cheesy toast dipped into a flavorful soup? I think not. So when you’re busy running the kids to swimming lessons or all of the other millions of things we all do during the summer, don’t worry about dinner. Just slice up a bunch of onions, pop them into the slow cooker, and when you get back add the stock and dinner’s ready that fast. The Gruyere toasts are ready in a flash too.
As I mentioned, for this recipe, the onions are cooked alone first, then the stock is added. This gives the onions ample time to cook down and get soft without melting away and disappearing into the broth. If you’d rather not go that route, just add everything to the slow cooker all at once and it will still be really good.
It’s great served with fruit and a very simple green salad like the French might make — torn Romaine with a flavorful basic herb vinaigrette. It’s a great summer meal and you’ll be surprised how even in the hot summer how a bowl of soup hits the spot. And yes, it’s also fantastic when it’s cold outside. : )
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
For soup –
4 Tablespoons butter
6 pounds onions (about 6-7 large), halved and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
2 quarts chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
For gruyere toasts-
1 loaf sourdough artisan bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
8-12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
For simple green salad-
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
Place the sliced onions in the slow cooker. Melt the butter and pour over the onions. Add the thyme and bay leaves, season well with salt and pepper. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 4 hours. The onions will cook down quite a bit. Briefly check about halfway through the cooking time to make sure the onions aren’t burning. (They shouldn’t be, they should release enough liquid as they cook.)
After the onions have cooked and are softened, add stock and let cook for another hour, or until the soup is piping hot. (You can heat the stock before you add it to speed things up.)
To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and place a Gruyere toast on top. Eat immediately.
Gruyere toast instructions:
Preheat oven broiler to low. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange bread slices on the rack and top with a little shredded Gruyere. Broil for 3-5 minutes, checking frequently so they don’t burn.
– All of the ingredients, stock included, can be added to the slow cooker and then cooked rather than letting the onions cook first. The cooking time will be a little shorter and the onions may disappear more into the broth. Cooking the onions first allows them to soften, but they remain intact for a chunkier soup.
– Try to use a good boxed broth (homemade is even better!), but choose one that isn’t too salty. It’s better to add your own salt and have control over the amount.
– For a creamy soup, substitute 1 cup heavy cream for 1 cup of the broth.
– Any Swiss style cheese (not processed!) can be used in place of the Gruyere. Shredded mozzarella can also be used in a pinch.
P.S. — Find tons of delicious slow-cooker recipes your family will love right here.