I still remember my first taste of French Onion soup in France. The piping hot bowl of soup came out, and I proceeded to burn my mouth with every bite of the delicious broth, sweet onions, and cheesy bread. French Onion soup is a simple concept, but hard to make right.
There are lots of ways to make French Onion soup, too. One such way is Roy Choi French Onion soup; he made it on his TV show and it became popular for people to try and make at home. In this copycat recipe you’ll find my attempt to make Chef Roy Choi’s French Onion soup as he did, and can learn how to make it yourself.
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Who is Roy Choi and Why Should We Love His Soup?
If you found this post, you probably already know who Chef Roy Choi is, and why his French Onion soup is worth making.
In short, Roy Choi is a Korean-American chef, based in Los Angeles. He became well-known for his Korean-Mexican taco truck, Kogi, and The Chef Show, which he created with Jon Favreau. On that show, he made his famously delicious French Onion soup – which is what you’re here to learn how to make too!
Making Roy Choi’s French Onion Soup
While this recipe sounds complicated – and it is definitely a bit more complex than many of the recipes I share here – but that’s part of what makes any French Onion soup so delicious. Unsurprisingly, Roy Choi’s French Onion soup takes that up a notch, which is why people are so curious about how to make it at home. Here’s what I did to create my copycat recipe for Roy Choi French Onion Soup.
Start with the crostini; this can sit while you prepare the rest of the soup and the crostini will be perfect whenever the soup is ready. (Rather than the soup cooling down while you make the crostini later.) Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F. While that’s happening, angle-slice the sourdough loaf into half-inch slices. Place these slices on a baking sheet and douse with extra virgin olive oil generously. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and bake until golden brown – that’s usually 12-15 minutes.
Once your crostini is in the oven, start working on the soup. Coat the bottom of your pot with a layer of EVOO too, and heat to medium-low heat. While that heat is coming up, make sure your onions are sliced. To check when your oil is ready, toss a slice of onion in and look for bubbling.
If you’ve got the heat right, add all of the onions into your pot and increase to medium heat. Stir your onions occasionally, but not too often: some fond (the browning that happens when you cook veggies or meat) should form over the course of cooking your onions.
Once the onions are wildly fragrant and translucent, you can begin to break them down with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste, then a pat (1-2 tsp) of butter and continue stirring until the onions begin to brown and look slimy. (Literally the only time I’ve ever said that slimy food is a good thing!)
Once you onions are ready, increase the heat under your pot to high. Move the onions to one side of the pot and add 3-4 ounces of beer, sherry, or brandy to deglaze the pot. (If you don’t know how to deglaze, here’s a really handy resource.)
Next, add a light coating of flour to your onions, then the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Pour the beef stock over the whole mixture and bring it up to a boil. Then lower the heat so the pot is simmering, and leave for 30 minutes.
When the soup is done cooking, place two crostini in each bowl and top with soup. Leave room at the top of the bowl so you can cover it generously with cheese. Then place the bowls in the oven under a broiler until the cheese becomes brown and bubbly. Remove the bowls – be careful, as they’re hot – and enjoy!
Roy Choi French Onion Soup Recipe
- 5 large Yellow Onions (sliced in half, then thinly sliced across the grain)
- Olive oil
- 64 oz Beef Stock
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 4 Thyme Sprigs
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Pat of butter
- 4 oz Beer, sherry, or brandy - avoid artificial flavors
- 2 T flour
- Emmental or baby Swiss
- Sourdough bread
- Kosher salt to taste
- Preheat oven 400°F.
- Slice sourdough loaf into half-inch slices at an angle.
- Place on a baking sheet and douse generously with EVOO sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake until golden brown for 12-15 minutes.
- Coat bottom of a pot with a layer of EVOO and heat to medium-low. Toss in an onion slice and look for active bubbling but not frying.
- Dump all onions into the pot and increase to medium heat.
- Stir occasionally not allowing onions to fry or brown too quickly. (Do not stir too often, some fond should form on the bottom of the pot by the time the onions are cooked.)
- When onions become translucent and begin to break down add salt and pepper generously or to taste.
- Continue stirring occasionally until the onions break down even more, then add a pat of butter. Continue stirring occasionally until onions break down to become light to medium brown and slimy.
- Increase heat to high. Move onions to one side and add 3-4 ounces of alcohol to deglaze.
- Scrape up fond with a spatula and mix into onions.
- Apply a light coating of flour to onions, just enough to add structure. Add bay leaf and thyme.
- Pour in beef stock and bring to boil.
- Lower to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Place two crostini in an oven-safe bowl and top with soup leaving room at the top.
- Cover generously with cheese and place in oven under broiler until brown and bubbly.
Sure, there are a lot of steps – but you can handle it! Once the soup comes out and exceeds your expectations for how delicious it tastes, you’ll know it was all worth it.
Have other questions about this Roi Choi French Onion soup recipe? Let me know in the comments!
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