Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slow Cooker {Beefy} French Onion Soup

My in-laws keep us supplied with delicious onions. My father-in-law works for a family onion farm, so we are often sent home with a 50 lb. bag to use (and share!). I have been slowly won over into the onion lover's camp (although I still can't handle them raw- except in salsa) through the big, sweet yellow onions we are supplied with. The last installment had me thinking they would make a lovely bowl of French onion soup. And they did. I try to make most of my soups in the crock pot since our soup night is an evening when we are away from home until later and it is fantastic to meet aromas and a warm bowl of soup when you walk in the door. So when I found a recipe for French onion soup made in the crock pot, with chunks of stew meat, I knew I had to try it.

The result was an amazingly rich, beefy broth, full of sweet caramelized onions and tender meat, topped, of course, in traditional style, with toast smothered in swiss cheese. I think the cheesy toast is almost my favorite part of the soup! It adds such a classy look and delicious flavor to the dish, with the cheese melting down the side and into the broth...okay, now I'm getting hungry.

Slow Cooker Beefy French Onion Soup
(printable version)
serves about 6 main dish, 8 side dish

about 7 small onions, cut in half and thinly sliced (about 7 cups)
1 TB butter, melted
2 TB sugar
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 lbs. beef stew meat
3 cans (10.5 oz) condensed beef consomme (I used broth)
1/4 cup dry sherry or apple juice
1 cup apple juice
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 in. thick slices French bread, toasted (1 per serving)
sliced or shredded swiss cheese (1 slice or 1/4 cup per serving)

Toss onions, butter and sugar in slow cooker. Top with bay leaves and beef. Cover and cook on low heat 9 to 10 hours or until onions are deep brown (caramelized).
Stir in consomme, sherry, apple juice and thyme and increase heat to high. Cook unti hot, about 10 min. Remove bay leaves.
To serve, spoon into oven safe soup bowls or ramekins and top each serving with a slice of toast and cheese. Broil with tops 6 in. from heat 3 to 5 min or until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

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