Our gratitude goes out to Constance Compton for sharing her recipe.
Constance Compton shares her recipes for beef stock and French onion soup. “Every year we would buy a whole cow from my brother-in-law’s farm in Maryland. Many people don’t take the bones but I always do,” said Constance. “There is something so satisfying about making your own stock on a cold winter weekend, knowing that onion soup is in your future. The house smells wonderful as it simmers away. And I feel good about using the whole animal.”
Constance also feels good knowing the cows on the farm were raised in the best conditions, and she and her family would visit them often. “It became a teachable moment for my son, knowing where our food comes from,” said Constance.
Constance first discovered the joy of savory French onion soup while attending boarding school in New Hampshire. The winters were brutal but on the weekends she and a close friend would find a way to get to town for lunch. She would always get the French onion soup. “It’s so warm and cozy with the added indulgence of all that cheese,” said Constance. “It’s been my go-to comfort soup ever since.”
She bases her version of the classic soup on Julia Child’s in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
- as many grass-fed beef bones that can fit in your pot
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half across—no need to peel
- 1 large yellow onion, halved or quartered—no need to peel
- 4 carrots with the greens attached, roughly chopped
- 2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 tablespoons peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the bones on a rimmed baking sheet, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Roast for an hour. When bones are cool enough to handle, fish out as much marrow as you can from them and reserve for another use (like, say, eaten hot, on toast, with salt and pepper).
Make the stock
Stovetop: Combine bones with all remaining ingredients in stock pot and cover with water. Simmer very gently for 3 to 4 hours.
Pressure cooker: Cover ingredients with cold water to the maximum line, put the lid on and set for 90 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Release any residual pressure.
Slow cooker: Set on low for 14 hours or on high for 10-plus.
Strain stock; taste and adjust seasonings to taste and decant into storage containers. Refrigerate and use in your French Onion Soup recipe within 2-3 days, or freeze.
Constance Compton’s French Onion Soup.