Caramelizing onions takes forever.
January 9, 2010 9:15 AM   Subscribe

What are some interesting, nontraditional things to do with French onion soup?

I love French onion soup, but am kind of bored of the bread/cheese/caramelized onion presentation. Are there any other great ways to serve it? Any recipes that call for onion soup as a base? Recipes with meat and/or dairy welcome.
posted by oinopaponton to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Reduce it, or otherwise thicken it a bit, and serve it over egg noodles.
posted by kellyblah at 9:16 AM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you search in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian on Amazon for "french onion soup," it should send you to pg. 109, which has a few variations ("More Classic Onion Soup," "Charred Onion Soup," and "Spanish Onion Soup with Almonds"). They're too elaborate to explain here. (Click the back button if you're interested in his basic recipe.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:18 AM on January 9, 2010

My favorite tea shop, Podunk, serves amazing french onion soup tarts. I think she just simmers down her version of french onion soup until it's very thick, then pours that into a par-baked tart crust. Seems easy, and it's really delicious.

Also, you can make french onion soup soup dumplings. Just add extra gelatin into the soup and chill it until it's soup jello. Use cubes of that to fill dumpling skins. When you steam them, the jello will melt back into delicious hot liquidy soup inside the dumplings! Stanton Social thought up this one first, I think.
posted by Eshkol at 9:32 AM on January 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Hydrate pasta with it. The Ideas in Food blog had a post a while back about separating out "hydrate" and "heat" when cooking pasta. I bet soup would add a good flavour to pasta.
posted by Leon at 9:38 AM on January 9, 2010

posted by Leon at 9:40 AM on January 9, 2010

A vote for Eshkol's dumpling idea. French-onion soup dumplings are a much-loved appetizer at our favorite neighborhood eatery.
posted by MattD at 9:59 AM on January 9, 2010

Mash some hard-boileded eggs, and serve them alongside to be spooned into the soup.
posted by HFSH at 10:19 AM on January 9, 2010

Caramelizing onions takes forever.

To answer the question you didn't ask, I just made a load of caramelized onions in my slow cooker. Slice 5 onions, put in slow cooker, put a stick of butter on top, set to low, go to bed. Wake up to caramelized onions.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:36 AM on January 9, 2010 [8 favorites]

You could puree it and add cream, for cream of french onion soup. Then you'd put little crispy garlic croutons on top, and eat it with a big salad.

You could incorporate swiss cheese into the above and maybe half a beer, all the better. Then you'd want some bread with that.

A puree could also serve as a base for other soups, like a potato soup, if you liked.

Pureed anything, especially very sweet onions, can make a good emulsifier for salad dressing. Puree, add a few tablespoons to a balsamic vinaigrette.

Caramelized onions, if you're interested using those alone, are great on top of pizzas, hamburgers, in omelets, stirred gently into mashed potatoes. They have a crazy number of uses and I like to make a ton on a Saturday when I'm cooking something else and then leave them in the refrigerator for whatever use I find for them during the week. If I do make french onion soup, I always make extra onions, because it does indeed take forever.

You could brown some beef, add some carrots and celery, pour the soup in, and make the whole thing a stew or braise.

I love french onion soup; it's only been this year that it's become something I routinely make it home. It takes forever but it's easy, and the sort of thing I like cooking when I'm cooking something else. I like to be cooking five things at once, though. I think I do that like other people play video games.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:44 PM on January 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh! And it would be a good marinade for steak.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:45 PM on January 9, 2010

Mmm, tasty ideas so far! I got really hungry right after I posted this question, so for posterity: onion soup, rice, spinach/garlic chicken sausage and a little hot sauce are really really tasty together.
posted by oinopaponton at 2:04 PM on January 9, 2010

broil vegetables in it - cake pan, oven, half an inch of soup, add potatoes, carrots, parsnips, whatever. I've been doing that lately with various bouillons and it makes for the most delicious creamy potatoes... also nice if you throw some chicken in with it.
posted by Billegible at 3:47 PM on January 9, 2010

I just had some chicken at someone's house where they mixed Catalina dressing and French Onion Soup mix (and possibly something else) to make a really interesting sweet and sour type of sauce/coating.
posted by gjc at 7:00 PM on January 9, 2010

Back to the carmelized onions ideas (not soup, just the onions) - they make a delicious appetizer when served atop a piece of pita bread which has been spread with hummus. We just use the grocery store versions; I'm sure it tastes much better using homemade or high quality pita/hummus.
posted by CathyG at 9:53 AM on January 11, 2010

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