Easily Fix Drab French Onion Soup With A Couple Bay Leaves

Crocks of French onion soup
Crocks of French onion soup - Anastasia Dobrusina/Getty Images

Although French onion soup is delicious, you may find yourself craving a little extra flavor. Caramelized onions are generally the star of the dish's flavor profile, but there's no shame in adding a little extra seasoning to help your soup taste extra indulgent. Seasonings can complement the flavors of the soup's other ingredients, adding some subtle flavoring without overpowering the dish.

If you're craving a slightly herby taste to contrast the sweetness of the caramelized onions, you may want to toss a few bay leaves into the mix as you begin cooking your soup. As the soup simmers on the stovetop, the broth will absorb the flavors of the leaves, creating a little more dimension in the dish.

Generally, the leaves are added in whole. They release flavor slowly as they're cooked in the food. Alternatively, if you really want to amplify the flavor of the seasoning, you can grind the bay leaves into powder. Both methods will work to add some extra flavor to the dish, contrasting the sweet onions and complementing the savory beef broth.

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

How To Add Bay Leaves To The Soup

Bay leaves
Bay leaves - LN team/Shutterstock

The bay leaves can be added to the soup in a few ways. If you let the broth simmer for a while — or if you're making a batch of slow-cooker French onion soup — the leaves can be added in whole right at the beginning of the cooking process. As the broth heats up, the flavor from the leaves will seep into the liquid, adding a little bit of herby taste to the dish.

If you do elect to add them whole into your soup, you'll want to take out the bay leaves before serving. They can be eaten, but the stiff texture may not be a welcome addition to the soup.

If you don't want to fish around for the leaves before enjoying your bowl of soup, they can also be ground prior to being added in. You'll want to make sure the bay leaves are ground down into a powder; bigger bites of leaf can taste extra bitter or feel unpleasant alongside the savory, creaminess of the soup. If you opt for this method, you may also want to add in a little less; the powder may be more powerfully flavored than the leaf when simmered.

There Are Two Good Substitutes For Bay Leaves

Oregano leaves and dried oregano
Oregano leaves and dried oregano - Anzhela Shvab/Shutterstock

If you don't have any bay leaves on hand, there are a couple of other seasonings that could still provide a similar, herby taste to upgrade the flavor of your French onion soup. Oregano and thyme can both make for suitable swaps for bay leaves. Both are boldly flavored and a little bitter, similar to bay leaves.

Both of these substitutes can also be used in the same way as bay leaves. Oregano and thyme can both be purchased as whole leaves — oregano is slightly larger, while thyme is sold in sprigs of smaller leaves. They can be tossed in while the soup simmers, and then removed. But if you want to skip a step and save yourself some time, grab some dried thyme or oregano to sprinkle in. Just be sure to adjust your amounts accordingly when swapping fresh and dry herbs.

The next time you're mixing up a pot of French onion soup, toss in a few bay leaves to upgrade the flavor a little more. The bold flavors can complement the taste of the soup and make for a more flavorful dish.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.