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French Onion Soup with Worcestershire Sauce [Recipe]

French Onion Soup with Worcestershire Sauce [Recipe]
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French cuisine has a long tradition of using onions as the chief ingredient, so it’s no wonder they came up with this delicious onion soup. One of my favorite things is the fact that you can skyrocket it by doing something as simple as browning the onions. The concept of caramelizing onions to enhance their sweetness is what this French onion soup with Worcestershire sauce is about!

Now, this is where French and English cuisines collide – in the splash of dark sauce. it actually takes the spot of the wine in the original recipe, due to its acidic components. I’m a sucker for an interesting presentation, and this dish requires it – so, I made the final crusting in terracotta bowls. Interested? Here’s the whole recipe!

What’s the Taste of French Onion Soup with Worcestershire Sauce?

This soup has a rich, warm, and comforting flavor profile that combines three notes – savory, sweet, and umami. The most prominent relish is, of course, onion, caramelized to perfection where its natural sweetness comes to full bloom. Worcestershire sauce alone offers a tangy, sweet, and umami taste which only enhances the delicate taste of onions. 

The final touch is always cheese, the quality kind, nutty and buttery varieties are ones to choose from. Crisped cheese and crunchy bruschetta on top add a missing texture and close the flavor circle. I love to add herbs, as well, for a more natural aroma.

French Onion Soup With Worcestershire Sauce

How to Make French Onion Soup With Worcestershire Sauce?

Initially, onion soup was reserved for the poor due to its simple and inexpensive ingredients. As the recipe evolved, it became a real delicacy you can find in high-end restaurants all over the world. Let’s see what you need for this caramelly heaven!

  • Onion – I went for yellow onions as they develop a sweet and mellow flavor after cooking, but don’t change the color of the dish.
  • Oil – I used a mix of extra virgin olive oil and butter to achieve a richer taste.
  • Broth – Choose beef broth, as it’s richer and darker in color. Never use stock cubes, only real bone-based bouillon.
  • Worcestershire sauce – The sauce will add an acidity component and a complex flavor profile. The umami taste is a key component that enhances the whole dish.
  • Vinegar – I used just a splash of apple cider vinegar, to enhance the acidity.
  • Cheese – I went for Swiss cheese for its buttery, nutty, and sweet relish. You can go for Gruyere, Comtè, Provolone, or some of the other Gruyere substitutes.
  • Bread – You have two chief options: toasted baguette slices or croutons. I went for the first one.
  • Spices – Keep it simple with spices, as caramelized onion should be the most prominent flavor. Salt and freshly ground pepper are staples, a bit of sugar for balance, plus herbs for deepening the flavor: bay leaves and thyme.

Let’s cook together!

RELATED:

French Onion Soup Without Oven Safe Bowl [Recipe & Tips]

Step 1: Peeling and Slicing

Halve the onions and peel their skin. Give them a proper wash and get onto slicing. Use a thin, large knife and slice the onion thinly – root to stem. It will be a big pile at first, which will reduce during the cooking process.

Step 2: Caramelizing

The Steps in Making the Soup

In a nonstick skillet, pour a bit of extra virgin olive oil and add butter. Soften it over medium heat and add the sliced onion. Stir it quickly and cover it with a lid, so it can, too, soften slowly and cook in its juices.

It will take approximately 15 minutes for the onions to reduce and become golden brown. Stir every now and then, to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Now, it’s a moment to add sugar, salt, pepper, and one more drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Sugar is the finishing touch in caramelization, but it demands special attention, as it burns easily. Stir it frequently and don’t go too far from the stove, because this is a crucial step for a perfect soup. This one will take anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on the pan type and amount of onion.

It’s done when the onion is mellow, dark brown, silky, and almost stringy. Pour in the beef broth and add bay leaves and thyme. You can add whole branches of it or chop it like I did. 

Simmer it slowly for about half an hour with a lid on. The soup should be creamy, not too dense or watery. Take out bay leaves and herb branches and check out if you need more salt and pepper. 

Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce for more umami flavor. Plus, I like to add a few drops of apple cider vinegar, too, for acidic relish.

Step 3: Preparing the Bruschetta

The Steps in Making the Bruschetta

In the meantime, slice up some baguette and arrange it on the baking tray you previously covered with baking paper. Trickle extra virgin olive oil over the slices and top them with grated Swiss. Bake it for about 5-10 minutes, till golden on top at 430 °F. 

Step 4: Baking

Baking the Soup

Take oven-friendly dishes and pour the soup in. I opted for terracotta bowls, for one portion only. Fill them to ¾ of the volume, place the slice of bruschetta on top, and add more grated cheese.

Broil it in the oven at 400 °F for about 10-15 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top. Take it out from the oven and serve immediately. 

How to Store this Dish?

For proper storage, you’ll have to cool the soup to room temperature. Portion it in smaller airtight containers and refrigerate for 4 days tops. Of course, this works for soup only, so don’t broil the whole batch with cheese, as it will be impossible to use.

When it comes to freezing, if you don’t have to – skip it, as onion tends to become a bit mushy and the freezing will change its texture. It will be good for a few months in the freezer (3 at most), though. Again, store it in small airtight containers and thaw in the fridge overnight, but don’t freeze it more than once!

What to Use Instead of Worcestershire Sauce in French Onion Soup?

If you don’t have or don’t feel like using Worcestershire sauce in soup, here are a few ideas on what to use instead. I’ll write down some ideas for copycat taste and some classics.

  • Soy Sauce + Apple Cider Vinegar – the taste is similar to Worcestershire. 
  • Balsamic Vinegar – it lacks umami flavor, but has a complex, blooming sweetness.
  • Red Wine  – is a classic, it will deepen the flavor.
  • Brandy – I love the fruity, almost sugary notes.
  • Cognac – you’ll get both: sweetness and spiciness.

How do you like this recipe? I can’t wait for your reviews in the comments below!

French Onion Soup With Worcestershire Sauce

French Onion Soup with Worcestershire Sauce

Author: Laura Bais
This caramelly, wintery delicacy is definitely worth waiting by the stove!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Broiling 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Servings 2 people
Calories 399 kcal

Equipment

  • nonstick skillet
  • Baking sheet

Ingredients
 
 

  • 18 oz yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (save one for later)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp thyme (or a few springs)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup Swiss (grated)
  • 2 slices baguette (+ some olive oil for drizzling)

Instructions
 

Peeling and Slicing

  • Halve the onions and peel their skin. Give them a proper wash and get on slicing. Use a thin, large knife and slice the onion thinly – root to stem.

 Caramelizing

  • In a nonstick skillet, pour a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and add butter. Soften it over medium heat and add the sliced onion.
  • Stir it quickly and cover it with a lid to soften slowly and cook in its juices. It will take approximately 15 minutes for the onions to reduce and become golden brown. Stir it every now and then, to prevent them from sticking to the bottom
  • Add sugar, salt, pepper, and one more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Stir it frequently and don’t go far from the stove, because this is a crucial step to make a perfect soup. This will take approximately 20 minutes.
  • It’s done when the onion is mellow, dark brown, silky, and almost stringy.
  • Pour in the beef broth and add bay leaves and thyme. You can add whole branches of it or chop it like I did.
  • Simmer it slowly for about half an hour with a lid on. The soup should be creamy, not too dense or watery.
  • Take out bay leaves and herb branches and check out if you need more salt and pepper.
  • Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce for more umami flavor and apple cider vinegar for acidic relish.

Preparing the Bruschetta

  • Slice up some baguette and arrange it on the baking tray you previously covered with baking paper.
  • Trickle extra virgin olive oil over the slices and top them with grated Swiss. Bake it for about 5-10 minutes, till golden on top at 430 °F.

Broiling the Soup

  • Fill oven-friendly bowls to ¾ of the volume, place the slice of bruschetta on top, and add more grated Swiss.
  • Broil it in the oven at 400 °F for about 10-15 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top. Take it out from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 399kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 10gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 2232mgPotassium: 681mgFiber: 5gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 837IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 133mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Broiling, French Onion Soup, Worcestershire sauce

Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.