Bare with me because this is a labor of love! Yes it will take all day to make, but YES it’s totally worth it! It’s so rich and full of flavor the only way you’ll get that is by takin all day to cook! Save it for the Fall or when there’s a nice cold front since you’ll have the oven on and it just makes it taste that much better when it’s cold out. If you have to you could totally make this over the course of a couple days dividing up the work.
It’s fancy to have one slice of bread of the top, but I also cubed up the bread and it’s easier to eat.
Geoffrey Zakarian’s French Onion Soup with Braised Short Ribs
2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
4 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
6 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 stick unsalted butter
6 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
12 slices sourdough bread, toasted
12 slices high-quality gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)
Chopped fresh chives, for topping
Braise the short ribs: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Toss the short ribs with the flour and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat the canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the short ribs and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.
Transfer to a plate.
Add the carrot, chopped onion and leek to the pot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Return the short ribs to the pot and stir in the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, garlic and tomato paste.
Add the wine and bring to a simmer, then cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Add the stock and return to a simmer.
Cover, transfer to the oven and braise until the short ribs are falling off the bone, 2 hours, 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, caramelize the onions: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 2 hours, 30 minutes. (Add a splash of water and scrape up any browned bits from the pot, if necessary.)
When the short ribs are done, remove from the broth with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.
Strain the broth, discarding the solids.
Shred the meat, discarding the bones, and toss with 1 cup of the broth. Reserve the remaining broth.
Add the thyme leaves and sherry to the caramelized onions. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add the reserved broth and cook 30 more minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Skim the fat from the top of the soup. Stir in the vinegar.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Divide the soup among 6 ovenproof bowls (in our case two jumbo souffle ramekins); spoon about 1/3 cup shredded meat into the center of each.
Top each with 2 slices toast, trimming the bread if necessary.
Top each with 2 slices cheese (I shredded my cheese), letting the cheese hang over the side of the bowl.
Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
Top with chives (we skipped that part).