That being said, I had some amazing french onion soup at a restaurant a couple weeks ago and I couldn't get the broth out of my head. It reminded me of some of my favorite beef broth... so I had to try to make it myself.
I found this recipe on the le creme de la crumb site which has given me oodles of inspiration for slow cooker food. I am not terribly fond of recipes that require me to do extra work before I put it in the slow cooker, but I know what happens when you put raw onions in soup... something just doesn't work. So, I did this (ingredients and directions are from the la creme de la crumb site)...
- 4 yellow onions, skins removed and thinly sliced into rings
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 8 cups beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 slices crusty french bread
- 8-12 slices of gruyere or swiss cheese
- Add butter and onion rings to the largest pan/skillet you have and saute over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and start to brown. Cover and cook about 5 minutes longer to let them caramelize a little more.
- Transfer onions to slow cooker. Add garlic, broth, and bay leaf. Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours or on low 6-8 hours (or up to 10).
- About 20-30 minutes before serving, preheat oven to 420 degrees. Place slices of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven for about 5 minutes, then flip the bread slices over and return to oven for another 5 minutes or so until bread is dried and crunchy. Set aside.
- Place oven-safe bowls on the baking sheet. Fill each with soup from the slow cooker. Place 2 slices of swiss cheese (overlapping) on top of the soup so the edges are hanging over the sides of the bowls. Bake about 10 minutes until cheese is melty. Serve with crusty bread and garnish with parsley if desired.
I don't follow directions well. I didn't use the bay leaf (I'm not terribly fond of bay). I used way too much broth because I wanted to have enough liquid in the crock pot.
Okay... so, I'm pretty sure the reason this is supposed to go into a crock pot is because the broth needs to heat, and it needs to fuse with the onions and become delicious to the extreme. The problem is that the broth I used is made at boiling temperature, so the slow cooker wasn't really necessary at all. If I had my own homemade broth, the slow cooker would have been amazing.
The onions took forever to caramelize and caused some awesome burn marks on the side of my stainless steel pan. I should have used my cast iron.
The recipe was easy to follow, and the ingredients were easy to find. It is honestly just broth, bread, onions, and cheese. It's really hard to mess up, and it's really hard to not love it. Find a broth that you love and use that.
I am pretty sure the soup lasted about 5 seconds. I inhaled it. I might be an animal. It was really good, but it was also pretty standard.