Happy Monday everyone! I’m really excited to share one of my coworker’s chili recipes with you today. I first tasted this chili last week when my team hosted a chili cook-off contest. Each contestant not only had to make an A-plus chili, but had to make enough to feed approximately 40 people. And boy, the contest was a hit. Seven team members participated in the chili cook-off and the rest of us had the hard job of picking the winner. This chili recipe was hands down the crowd favorite. In fact, I loved it so much that I made a batch for a Friendsgiving potluck last weekend.
Though it’s not a surprise to anyone who knows me, I work a lot. No really; it’s not uncommon for me to work 10 or 12 hours a day, begrudgingly followed by a 45 minute run at the gym and topped off with some quality cuddle time with the kitties while I binge watch Friends on Netflix. And, though I love my job, it doesn’t leave me with much time to cook on the weeknights.
That’s where my trusty slow cooker comes into play.
Though I’ve only had this slow cooker for about a month (my brother gifted it to me for Christmas), it’s quickly become one of my favorite kitchen tools. It makes cooking so darn easy! Before work, all I do is quickly throw together some veggies, a protein and broth, turn the setting on low, and voila, 7-8 hours later I have a meal. And, to make it even better, my mom bought me a recipe book with over 400 recipes dedicated to slow cooking. My friends, I will never go hungry.
Side note: what’s your favorite slow cooker recipe? Though I have a book with 400 of them, I’m always looking for more. 😉
This French onion soup recipe is perfect for those cold, grey winter days when you want something warm to fill your belly … though we rarely have that weather in Southern California. Just remember, the croutes make the soup so don’t skimp on some good cheese and artisan bread! Otherwise, you’ll be left with only onions and broth.
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup (adapted slightly from Best-Ever Slow Cooking)
3 Tbsp of Butter
1 Tsp of Olive Oil
2 1/2 Lbs of Onions (approximately 4), peeled and sliced
1 Tsp of Sugar
1 Tbsp of Flour
1 Tbsp of White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp of Brandy
1/2 Cup of Unoaked Chardonnay (though any dry white wine will suffice)
4 Cups of Chicken Stock
2 Tsp of Fresh Thyme, plus more for garnish
Salt and Pepper
4 Slices of Artisan bread
1 Garlic Clove
Turn on slow cooker and add the butter and olive oil until butter completely melts (approximately 15 minutes). Add the onions to the slow cooker and toss slightly to ensure all the onions are covered in the butter mixture. Cover with the lid and a dish towel (to prevent escaping heat) and cook on high for at least two hours, stirring occasionally to ensure that the onions remain fully coated by the butter mixture.
Add sugar and stir until fully incorporated. Cover again with the lid and the dish towel and cook for four more hours, stirring occasionally. The onions should appear to be a deep golden brown at the end of the four hours.
Add the flour to the onions and stir. Next add the white wine vinegar and sherry slowly into the onion mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients (wine, chicken stock, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste), mix and cook on high for another 2 hours.
For the croutes, I used a small loaf of artisan bread I bought at Trader Joe’s. Cut the garlic in half and spread across the surface of each piece of bread. Spread with mustard and top with a generous slice of Gruyere cheese. Then, place under the broiler on high for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble and the bread starts to brown.
Pour the onion soup into bowls and top with the croutes. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.