Reason #8,571 to own a crock pot:
Not just any onion soup. The most awesome, incredible onion soup ever. And one of the easiest things you’ll ever make.
There are really only two ingredients you really need. Onions and your crock pot.
Oh, this soup has a few more. But you can make really beautiful carmelized onions just by throwing them in your crock pot and cooking them on low until they’re brown and soft and sweet.
Just cut them up. Thin is best. If you’ve got a mandoline slicer, this is the time to use it. Just be sure to use a guard and a cutproof glove, please. You don’t need to make a trip to Urgent Care. Take it from my firsthand experience, it’s not a fun way to spend an evening.
Anyway, you want strips or rings. Sorry, I don’t have any photos of any of this. But use your imagination. 🙂
Pile them into the crock pot. As tightly as you can. In my large oval shaped pot I can fit about 5 onions’ worth. It only takes an extra few minutes to cut the raw onions, but I highly recommend making as many carmelized onions at once as you can, because they freeze really well. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Push the onions down and make room for more. When you can’t fit any more, add a sprinkling of salt. I usually use just about a teaspoon for 5 onions. It’s not really to salt them so much as it is to draw the water out of them, so you can skip this step if you want. I also usually add a tablespoon of butter. Not for any really good reason, except that I think that the butter compliments the velvety texture of the cooked onions.
Put the top on the crock pot and turn it on low.
Leave it for at least 6 hours. Overnight is even better.
This last batch I left on low for about 18 hours.
It would take a lot for the onions – which are mostly water – to dry out. So don’t be afraid of them burning unless you leave them all day and all night (I have done this once. Not with onions. With meat. When I woke up in the morning it looked like a hockey puck. Not the best way to start the day!).
When you turn off your crock pot, you should have beautiful deeply brown soft onions swimming in lovely onion broth.
Whatever you do, don’t throw this broth away. It’s heavenly.
Unless you’re making the whole pot into onion soup, I suggest draining the onions and freezing the broth in individual ice cube trays. That way you can add a little brothy onion goodness into other soups or rice dishes or just about anything you can think of. You can use the onions themselves on top of pizza or in sandwiches. They freeze remarkably well and are awesome to have around.
But you can take it one step further.
If you were, say, to take about 1 1/2 cups of the onion broth, 1/2 cup of the onions, and 1/2 cup of beef stock, and warm those through, and then to toast up some slices of baguette with provolone on the top, (slightly stale bread is even better than fresh in this instance) and put it all together, you’d have two bowls of this.
Sweet, oniony, velvety onion soup. That tastes like onions instead of broth and salt. That is satisfying and filling without being heavy. That is just plain awesome.
Dear Crockpot: You rock.