This recipe is inspired by my sister Bridget and her genuine addiction to French Onion Soup. I come home to Chicago and offer to make her all of the fancy recipes I have learned since I last saw her, but she doesn’t want any of that. She wants French Onion Soup.
So we take the base of a French onion soup and zhush it up a little with some not-so-classic ingredients like umami bouillon and celery seeds. We braise chicken thighs in the soup until they’re breathtakingly tender, then we cover the whole thing in cheese and broil until bubbly just like we would with French Onion Soup. It’s cheesy, it’s flavorful, and it’s an easy way to turn a classic indulgence into the perfect dinner.
- 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, about 4-6
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 1/ 2 pounds yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons celery seeds
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 3/ 4 cup marsala or white wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 tablespoon Umami Bouillon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Bread, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles, for serving
Season chicken with salt and pepper at least 1 hour before cooking.
Add vegetable oil and chicken thighs to a cold medium size pan and heat to medium heat. Cook until chicken is browned on both sides, about 15-17 minutes, then remove from pan and set aside. Add butter and sliced onions to pan, scraping the bottom to release any browned bits.
After about 10 minutes, when onions are cooked through but not yet caramelized, add sugar, celery seeds, and thyme leaves. Continue to cook, stirring often until caramelized, lowering the heat if you need to. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Stir marsala wine into onions, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in beef stock, soy sauce, and bay leaves. Bonus: if you have any demi-glace packets or bouillon, you can add that in too.
Nestle chicken thighs skin-side-up into onions. Liquid should cover chicken by about one to two thirds. Carefully place pan in oven on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any potential drips!) and cook for 40-45 minutes.
Check temperature of chicken, being sure it’s at least 145F degrees internally. Sprinkle shredded cheese all over chicken and onions and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Garnish with more thyme and serve with your favorite carb, we recommend fresh bread, mashed potatoes, cooked egg noodles (buttered, of course!)