I love a bowl of French onion soup, but this time there’s a little something extra inside. This is my French Onion Soup With Mini-Meatballs.
Why can’t we take a traditional dish and make it our own? That’s just what I did. I added mini meatballs in with those sweet caramelized onions, savory broth, and covered by delicious cheese.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 (medium-size) cookie-dough scoop
Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 pounds of ground pork (substitute ground beef, chicken, or turkey)
3 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (substitute 2 tablespoons of dried)
2 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese, whole milk
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of store-bought fresh basil pesto
1 1/4 cups of Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 extra-large eggs
Ingredients For the Soup:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5 large sweet onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped (substitute 1 tablespoon of dried)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons of dry Sherry
1 bay leaf
1 (10.5-ounce) can of beef consommè
1 quart plus 1 cup of beef broth, unsalted
1 loaf of baguette bread, sliced and toasted (2 per soup)
3 cups Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
6 sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Start by lining two rimmed baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Liberally spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray.
I happened to have ground pork in my refrigerator so that’s what I’m using today.
In a large mixing bowl start with the flavorings for the meatballs first. Add ricotta cheese, fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, basil pesto,freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated garlic, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, dried oregano, Italian bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and heavy cream, mix to combine. It’s important to mix all the flavorings first before adding the ground meat. This ensures you don’t overmix the meat and end up with tough meatballs. Using your hands, gently combine the meat distributing the flavorings evenly throughout.
Note: Using a cookie-dough scoop will ensure the meatballs will turn out the same size.
Using the medium-size cookie-dough scoop, scoop the mixture into your hands then roll them into mini-meatballs. Arrange the meatballs 1 to 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet pans. The mixture yields approximately 36 meatballs.
Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes.
In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil, sliced onions, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, sugar, fresh thyme, and red pepper flakes. Stirring frequently, cook until deep golden brown and caramelized, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove the meatballs from the oven.
Note: If the onions begin to burn on the bottom of the pot, reduce the heat slightly and stir in 1/4 cup of water.
Add the dry Sherry, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the beef consommé, beef stock, and bay leaf.
Add the mini-meatballs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until slightly reduced, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Adjust the oven temperature to the broil setting.
Place baguette slices onto a rimmed baking sheet pan. Place into the oven and broil until golden brown on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set Aside.
Note: Add the bread and cheese at the time you’re ready to serve, otherwise, bring the soup to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.
To Serve: Divide the soup into the 6 soup crocks. Place two slices of the toasted baguette to cover the surface of the soup completely. Distribute evenly, top with shredded Gruyère cheese. Set 2 soup crocks onto each baking sheet pan. Leave the oven door slightly ajar, broil for just a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Option: Garnish with small sprigs of fresh thyme.
There you have it, my French Onion Soup With Mini-Meatballs.