French Onion Soup from Good Eats S1E8 – A Bowl of Onion

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This one is kind of a weird one. I changed the recipe. I know the whole point of this is to try the recipes as they are and report back, but I made this soup years ago and HATED IT.

As written, and as shown on the TV show, this recipe is WAY too sweet. I don’t know what made Alton Brown think that 10oz of apple cider in French onion soup was a good idea, but it’s definitely not.

I understand what he was going for, some sweetness is totally welcome, but 10oz is way too much, so I changed precisely one thing about this recipe.

Instead of 10oz of apple cider and 10oz of chicken stock, I did 16oz of chicken stock and 4oz of apple cider. That makes it taste like a soup, as opposed to like a weird dessert full of onions.

This recipe does actually require some special equipment. For starters, you need an electric skillet. I picked up a Presto brand one from Amazon. It definitely helps with this recipe, and electric skillets are actually pretty handy to have around. I’m definitely gonna be cooking a metric crap-load of bacon on this thing, and now I have an excuse to make pancakes too.

You’re also gonna need some soup crocks. They need to be oven safe to toast the cheese, and they also need to be dishwasher safe for your sanity. I picked up this set of four on amazon.

This recipe starts with a lot of onions, and I deviated from the printed recipe. It says 5 onions. If you make this recipe with 5 onions you are going to be highly disappointed. In the video, Alton says 8 to 10.

I ended up using 9, and honestly I could have done two or three more and it would have been better. These reduce down a LOT. 9 onions ended up being 3 decent sized bowls of soup.

This is what it looks like after you have sliced up 9 onions.

From here, this is a very simple recipe.

You just put the onions in the electric skillet and cook them.

And cook them

And after that you cook them some more.

About an hour later, you have significantly less onions by volume, and your home should be smelling amazing.

Now you add all the other ingredients, basically herbs and liquid and let it cook down until it’s the consistency you want.

In the meantime, toast your bread under the broiler. Definitely don’t forget about the bread under the broiler and only remember when you smell the distinct odor of burning.

Not that anyone would be dumb enough to do that, but if you do, maybe try again and pull the bread after like three minutes.

From there, it’s pretty much just simple assembly. Put the soup in the bowl, top with toasted bread (toasted side down), and then top that with cheese.

Pop those under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese and enjoy.

This is good soup. Especially when you change the ratio of chicken stock to apple cider. In my opinion, with the ratios as written, it’s bad, weirdly sweet soup.

But none of that really matters, what I really took away from this recipe was the method. Using an electric skillet to caramelize onions is an absolute game changer. I’m definitely keeping the electric skillet around, and the next time I do steaks they’re gonna come with caramelized onions that didn’t require me to babysit a pan on the stovetop for an hour.

Oh one last thing, the comments on this recipe are hilarious. Apparently a LOT of people see “Apple cider” and read it as “Apple Cider Vinegar” and there are a LOT of angry people in the comments talking about 10oz of apple cider vinegar makes this soup taste terrible. It’s pretty fun to read through.