One of my most favorite foods in the world is French Onion Soup Gratinee. It has such an incredible depth of flavor and there is nothing better on a cold day than a hot bowl of soup dripping with ooey gooey cheese. This meal right here is like French Onion Soup on a plate, it was absolutely divine! I adapted this recipe from one posted by For the Love of Cooking. The recipe calls for cooking the chicken in a separate pan but for the sake of convenience and because I didn’t want to waste any yummy bits I cooked the whole meal in my enameled cast iron dutch oven. Less to clean and more flavor imparted into the dish.
Original Recipe – French Onion Chicken Breast
Next time, red wine is absolutely in order. I usually add Merlot to my own French Onion Soup recipe but sadly, I had none left in the house this evening. I think adding red wine to the sauce would add another nice dimension of flavor to this meal. If you would like to add red wine, throw some in after you add the garlic and thyme to the onions. Adding it at this point will help to deglaze the pan and it’ll give the wine a chance to burn off the alcohol. Then continue with the recipe as instructed.
Because this recipe made a nice amount of sauce I decided to boil some penne pasta to go alongside the chicken. I tossed 1/2 lb of pasta with a 2 tbs of salted butter, a few splashes of the pasta cooking water, and a few healthy spoonfuls of the chicken sauce after cooking. To finish off the pasta I mixed in a nice handful of shredded mozzarella. It was absolutely delicious and a perfect, easy side dish for this meal.
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 2 large sweet onions, sliced (I used Vidalia)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbs flour
- 2 cups beef broth (or stock if you’d like a richer flavor)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless breasts, cut in half lengthwise
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- garlic powder, to taste
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs Dijon mustard
- 1 cup mozzarella, shredded OR Gruyere, grated
Melt the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and a little salt and pepper and cook until they are a deep golden brown, about 25-30 min. Add a bit of beef broth/stock as need to deglaze the pan and keep the onions from burning. You want deep, rich browned onions, not burnt ones so the key here is low and slow.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add the garlic, thyme, and flour to the onions and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Add wine here if you’re using it and cook for about 2-3 minutes so that it deglazes the pan, make sure to scrape up all of the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add in 1 cup of beef broth/stock, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Remove the onions and sauce, reserve in a bowl for later. Add the oil to the dutch oven and heat it up. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then add to the hot oil. Brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
Add the remaining beef broth/stock and deglaze it, making sure to scrape up the browned bits from the chicken. Whisk in the mustard and vinegar, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the onions and sauce back into the pot and mix well to combine. Add in a few splashes of beef broth/stock if the mixture seems too thick. Add the chicken back into the pot, spoon the sauce over each piece, cover with a lid and bake for about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
Remove from oven and sprinkle shredded cheese all over the chicken and broil until melted and browned. Remove the chicken from the pot and plate on dishes. If you made the pasta as a side, toss some of the sauce with the pasta and then plate alongside the chicken. Spoon extra sauce over both and finish it off with a light sprinkle of parsley.