Here we call it French Onion Soup, in France it's just Onion Soup. In reality it's far more popular than we had expected. In my ethnocentric mind it was a popular American dish imitating an old French classic. While there is still some truth to that, you will still find it on most menus at sidewalk cafes and fine dining brasseries.
Though there are a few differences to what you will find in Paris to here in the U.S. Here or there, it's a savory blend of beef stock and simmered onions that is soul comforting. Slightly sweet onions with slurpy, savory soup, crunchy yet soggy soup filled bread and the ooeyiest, gooyiest cheese. Each bite is soup nirvana from inside your heart to the tips of your fingers and toes.
You know what's hard about soup? Sharing. Problem, meet solution
French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread - Pull Apart Bread!
All the best parts about french onion soup - stock soaked bread, caramelized onions, tangy, melty cheese - becomes a finger food! No bowls or spoons necessary. The first time I experimented with this idea, I brought the result to my monthly wine club (yup, that's a thing and it's beautiful) and it literally disappeared in under 5 minutes.
Even better now, each time I make this shareable, crowd pleasing French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread, I'll be transported to a Parisian sidewalk brasserie people watching with great friends. You don't have to travel to Paris to enjoy this pull apart bread, but it couldn't hurt right? Kidding. Perhaps a little french jazz in the background will do just fine.
Pull apart breads are incredibly fun to serve, everyone going after the 'perfect piece', and easy to throw together.
Almost soup, in a flash.
French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread tastes like it's been simmering for hours, but you can have this on the table in under 45 minutes. The onions simmer in a butter and olive oil mixture for perfect caramelization. Even if they over cook just a tad, the beef consommé addition will simmer out, but the best part being you really don't have to stir too much while caramelizing the onions.
If you can't find beef consommé, regular beef stock will work. Beef consommé is my go to since it contains a bit of gelatin, making it more like soup and thickening the soup and onion mixture faster.
The most important piece is your bread selection. Sourdough load is an obsession in my life. The perfect sour tang and soft texture, and can be soaked without falling apart. A large, french style loaf is ideal, but whatever you can find that is firm and soakable will work.
Slicing almost all the way down, keep the bottom part of the bread in tact. Otherwise you may end up with thick onion and cheese bake. Not that anyone would complain about it I'm sure, but we're aiming for pull apart bread. Then you stuff all those cracks with soupy, sweet onion goodness.
Cheese selection is personal. Baby swiss is just a little tangy without bringing an overpowering flavor, but Gruyere will also bring similar flavors. Top your onions with shredded, cheesy bliss - bake, broil, serve.
Side walk brasserie optional.
French Onion Soup Pull Apart Bread
- 1 large French sourdough loaf
- 3 large sweet onions
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cup baby swiss or gruyere (fresh grated)
- ¾ cup beef consommé
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Slice onions in ¼" half-moon slices. Heat a large sauté pan on medium. Melt butter and olive oil together. Working in three rounds, layer sliced onions and sprinkle with salt. Let simmer for 5 minutes on medium, then turn heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes before stirring.
- Cook onions until caramelized and browning. Add beef consommé and reduce over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously. There should be some liquid, but thickened.
- Slice bread crosswise in 1" squares. Stuff the cracks with soup and onion mixture. Spread any addition soup and onion mixture over the top. Repeat with grated cheese.
- Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes in a dutch oven or high lipped baking dish. Finish by broiling on high for 5 minutes.