French Onion Soup Burg­ers are per­fect en­tree for La­bor Day

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FOOD - By Sara Moulton

If you’re a fan of tra­di­tional French onion soup — and who isn’t? — you’re go­ing to love this burger. It’s kit­ted out with all of the ingredients that make the soup such a trea­sure — ten­der, browned onions, beef broth, red wine, Gruyere cheese and French bread — and fi­nally lath­ered up with mus­tard mayo. Rich and full of fla­vor, this burger is the per­fect en­tree for a La­bor Day bash.

Prep­ping it, how­ever, does re­quire a bit of care. The onions need to be cooked low and slow so that they’ll soften and brown prop­erly. (You can, how­ever, cook them a full day ahead, then cover and chill them un­til the mo­ment of truth.) Like­wise, you want to keep a strict eye on the burg­ers as they cook. Overdo it and they’ll end up dry.

You’re wel­come to buy what­ever kind of burger strikes your fancy, but please re­sist the siren call of prepack­aged quar­ter­pounders. They’re too thin for this recipe and will def­i­nitely end up over­cooked. If you’re up for a lit­tle ex­tra work, you can “grind” your own meat by buy­ing the beef of your choice — skirt steak, short ribs, sir­loin, you name it — cutting it into 1-inch cubes, freez­ing it for 40 min­utes and fi­nally puls­ing it (in two batches) in a food pro­ces­sor un­til you reach the ground beef tex­ture you de­sire.

Clas­sic French onion soup calls for Gruyere cheese, but you’re free to swap in a dif­fer­ent va­ri­ety as long as it melts as well as Gruyere. Like­wise, if you don’t want to add wine to the recipe, you can deglaze the burger pan with stock or water.

In the clas­sic recipe, a slice of French bread is floated on the soup’s sur­face like a bowl-wide crou­ton. Here that bread pro­vides the co­zi­est of beds for a juicy burger. (In truth, though, that bread — lightly brushed with olive oil, browned in the oven

and rubbed with gar­lic — is fairly amaz­ing all by it­self.)


Serv­ings: 4 Start to fin­ish: 1 hour (40 min­utes ac­tive)


¼ cup ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, plus ex­tra for brush­ing on the bread

3 cups packed thinly sliced onion Kosher salt 1 tea­spoon minced gar­lic plus 1 whole clove cut in half

1 tea­spoon fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup beef or chicken broth or water Black pep­per Four 4-inch pieces of French bread, cut in half ¼ cup may­on­naise 1 tea­spoon Di­jon mus­tard

1½ pounds ground beef, shaped into 4 burg­ers

3 ounces thinly sliced Gruyere

1/3 cup red wine


In a large skil­let heat 2 ta­ble­spoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, re­duce the heat to medi­um­low and cook, cov­ered, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the onion is very ten­der, about 15 min­utes. Re­move the lid and con­tinue to cook the onion, un­cov­ered, stir­ring fre­quently, un­til the onion is golden brown, about 15 min­utes. Add the minced gar­lic and the thyme and cook, stir­ring, 1 minute. Add the beef broth and cook, stir­ring the onions con­stantly to scrape up the glaze at the bot­tom of the pan, un­til most of the liq­uid has been ab­sorbed. Trans­fer the mix­ture to a bowl, add salt and pep­per to taste and set it aside. Clean and dry the skil­let and re­turn it to the burner.

While the onions are cook­ing, pre­heat the broiler. Brush the cut sides of the French bread lib­er­ally with olive oil and on a sheet pan broil the bread cut side up, un­til it is golden. Re­move from the oven and rub the cut sides with the cut sides of the gar­lic clove. Trans­fer the French bread halves to each of 4 plates. In a small bowl stir to­gether the may­on­naise and the mus­tard and spread the mix­ture evenly on all the cut sides of the bread.

In the skil­let, heat the re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons oil over high. Sea­son the burg­ers on both sides with salt and pep­per and add them to the pan. Re­duce the heat to medium-high and cook the burg­ers un­til they are nicely browned (but not cooked through), about 2 min­utes a side. Re­move the skil­let from the heat, spoon off and dis­card all but 1 ta­ble­spoon of the fat in the pan and top each burger with one­fourth of the onion mix­ture and one-fourth of the cheese. Pour the wine into the skil­let and put it back on the burner. Re­duce the heat to medium, cover the skil­let and cook the burg­ers just un­til the cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Trans­fer the burg­ers to one of the French bread halves on each of the plates. Sim­mer the liq­uid, scrap­ing the bot­tom of the skil­let un­til it is syrupy and spoon some of it over each burger. Top with the re­main­ing French bread half and serve right away.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 628 calo­ries; 307 calo­ries from fat; 34 g fat (11 g sat­u­rated; 1 g trans fats); 100 mg choles­terol; 665 mg sodium; 42 g car­bo­hy­drates; 2 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 36 g pro­tein.


This photo shows a French onion soup burger in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moulton.

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