I love French onion soup so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. So glad I did. The caramelized onions, rich beef broth and little tasty meatballs are the makings of this perfect dish. “Delicious” said Rob today at lunch as he ate his leftovers. “Mmm mmm so good!” I said exuberantly to Rob and Sylvie to which they indulged me with kind smiles.
The first time I made the meatballs with a mixture of ground turkey and chicken and used a beef/chicken/turkey stock. I used less butter than the recipe called for but left most everything else as is. The second time I used just chicken meat in the meatballs and beef stock. This time I cut the cheese in half (inside the meatballs) and also put less on top figuring you can add more cheese if you like on your own. They were equally delicious. Really. Well obviously the more cheese the better (if you like cheese).
Both times I did not have gruyere cheese and substituted parmesan. But really gruyere would be great. I just flaked on it.
In terms of stock – and this is for all recipes, purchase the richest stock/broth/bone broth you can find and afford. Or make homemade. The freezer section has some great options these days and yes, I know pricey but this will really make a difference. Bonafide provisions makes good broth and I see it often in stores. Brodo also has great stock. If your stock tastes bland – or you only have boxed broth then I have a small trick. More than gourmet is a product that I really love. They sell little packets of glace stock (that’s what they call it). The glace is chicken, veal, or beef stock and reduced so much that it lands in this little packet in the palm of your hand. You can actually make a broth from this little packet by and adding water. But I use it to enrich my broths and stocks – I don’t use the whole packet I use just a bit and mix it in and taste, and readjust. A teaspoon might help, or 2 teaspoons. In this case I added a little bit of the beef and although my broth was tasty, this put it over the edge into scrumptious.
The kids put it over noodles and Rob and I had with a cauliflower/veggie rice. At lunch he heated up leftover butternut squash and ate it all together and just loved it. I just ate mine as is – and slurped the remaining liquid right out of the bowl and into my mouth. That is when I declared my happiness.
I found this recipe at delish.com – if interested check out the comments at the bottom of their recipe for changes, additions and thoughts. I’m always interested in how others change a recipe to improve it or just make it their own. They also have a 1 minute video that shows how to make this all come together so check that out too.
You can make the meatballs in advance and make the sauce closer to dinner to break up the time. I listen to an audio book while I cook so it is very enjoyable. I recommend it.
I DOUBLED THE RECIPE BELOW
- 1 pound ground chicken (or beef or turkey) not the leanest versions or these will be dry
- 1/2 cup gruyere cheese (or less depending on your diet and level of deliciousness that you want)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat panko but anything will work)
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley (I didn’t add, didn’t have don’t love)
- 1 egg
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt (if table salt, use a bit less but get some diamond crystal in the house please)
- ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter (recipe calls for 4 and that would be delicious but 2 was enough for us)
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups beef broth (read the 4th paragraph above for more info if you skipped it)
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme – which would be great. I didn’t have so added some dried.
- 1/2 cup shredded gruyere
- Preheat the oven to 425, line a baking sheet with parchment, or foil (grease the foil with olive oil so meatballs don’t stick)
- Assemble meatballs, In a large bowl combing all of the ingredients and mix gently to combine. Don’t overmix
- Form the mixture into meatballs. You can decide on the size – the bigger they are the longer they cook. Mine were prob about 1 1/2 tablespoons but next time I’ll make smaller
- Place on baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through – if medium sized this should take about 25 m – but check before and continue to check the meatball temp and cook until 165 reads on a meat thermometer
- If they haven’t browned much feel free to pop under the broiler for a minute – I find them more appealing with color (and there is less color with less cheese)
- Make the sauce – in a large skillet melt the butter and add the onions and cook until VERY soft and golden. This is KEY. The recipe states 25 minutes but I prob kept those onions slow cooking for 40m and when I read the comments on the original recipe, people caramelized them even longer. I start on medium heat but eventually to low and stir them often. You don’t want to burn the onions.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant 30 secs or so (don’t burn the garlic it’s very bitter)
- Add broth and thyme and season with a little salt and pepper
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer and bubble until slightly thickened 10-15 m. Taste the reduction now and reseason for salt and pepper. Add the glace (mentioned in f4th paragraph above) if you have it and want to.
- Add the cooked meatballs to the skillet and sprinkle with gruyere and cover and cook until meatballs are warmed through and cheese is melty – this can take 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your meatballs are.
- Sprinkle with thyme and serve. Yum.