crockpot french onion & beef soup [New Favorites challenge, week 3]

French onion soup + lots of yummy beef.  Can you really go wrong with that combo??

For this week's New Favorites Challenge, I wasn't able to get to a cookbook off my shelf (hey, there's a reason the internet gets used more these days!), but I did visit a great new-to-me food blog called how Sweet it is, and I am impressed!

One of the first recipes I saw was Jessica's Crockpot French Onion Soup and I immediately started drooling.  And then I put all the ingredients on my grocery list so I could make it as soon as possible!

I did change one big thing when I made it though...  I added meat!  I know, I know...  that's not how French Onion Soup is supposed to be.  But I wanted a full meal out of this soup... and when is meat ever a bad thing?!

Slow Cooker French Onion & Beef Soup Recipe
adapted from how Sweet it is

4 medium sweet onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup beer
6 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
salt & pepper, to taste
smallish (2 pounds, or so) lean beef roast
french bread (unsliced so you can cut thick slices yourself!)
shredded gruyére cheese

Turn the slow cooker onto HIGH and place the butter in the bottom.  While it heats up, thinly slice the onions and mince the garlic.  Dump them in the slow cooker with the butter, and add in the balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.  Stir well to coat and place the lid on.  Cook on HIGH for 1 hour, or until the onions are soft and starting to brown around the edges.  Dump in the flour and stir well to coat.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  (If you want to start prepping this meal the night before, this is a perfect place to stop and place the crockpot insert in the fridge.  Continue in the morning.)

Nestle the roast down in the onions and add in the rest of the ingredients, except for the bread and cheese.  Cook for 8-12 hours, until the meat is falling apart tender. Remove the roast, shred it with 2 forks and then return it to the pot.  (You can use all of the meat, or put half of it in the fridge for another use... like I did!)  Taste for seasoning and add more salt & pepper, if needed.

To serve:  Preheat the broiler.  Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls (set onto a baking sheet to contain mess!), filling them about 3/4 full.  Place a thick slice of french bread in the top of each bowl and cover generously with shredded cheese.  Broil for a few minutes (watching closely so they don't burn!) until the cheese is all melted and golden!

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