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French Onion Soup Dumplings

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Serves eight to ten as an appetizer.

Yields 40 dumplings.

  • by Chris Santos from Fine Cooking
    Issue 101

My food is meant for sharing. But how do you share French onion soup politely? In my version, you get everything that’s great about the classic—crispy bread, gooey cheese, and luscious soup—in one delicious bite.

For the "soup"
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow or red onion (or a combination)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot (2 medium)
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup lower-salt beef broth
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs. aged balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the croutons
  • 1/2 lb. dense, chewy bread, crust removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (1 medium clove)
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dumplings
  • 40 square wonton wrappers
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1-3/4 cups grated Gruyère
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the "soup"

Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium low heat. Add the onions and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium, add the wine, and cook until it has completely evaporated, 5 to 9 minutes. Add the beef and chicken broths and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the thyme and vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and let cool. Line a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2-inch loaf pan with foil and pour the “soup” mixture into the pan. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Make the croutons

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Spread the croutons on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool and then skewer 40 of the best-looking croutons with toothpicks (save the leftovers for another use).

Make the dumplings

Working with about 10 wonton wrappers at a time, arrange them on a flat surface and brush the edges with the egg. Unmold the “soup” mixture from the loaf pan. Using a chef’s knife, cut the frozen soup lengthwise into 4 long, even strips, and then cut each strip crosswise into 10 even pieces, to make 40 pieces total, each about 3/4 inch square. Put one square in the center of each wrapper and fold up the edges, pressing to create a purse-like dumpling. Repeat to make 40 dumplings. Put the dumplings on a small baking sheet or tray and freeze until ready to fry.

Heat the vegetable oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 365°F or until the oil begins to ripple and bubbles immediately when the edge of one dumpling is dipped into it. Have ready a tray or plate lined with paper towels. Add as many dumplings as will fit in the pan without crowding and fry until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to the paper towels. Continue frying the remaining dumplings.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Divide the dumplings among 8 to 10 small, shallow ovenproof gratin dishes and top with the Gruyère. Bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 6 minutes. Stick a crouton skewer in each dumpling, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1 dumpling; Calories (kcal): 90; Fat (g): 6; Fat Calories (kcal): 50; Saturated Fat (g): 2.5; Protein (g): 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Carbohydrates (g): 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 160; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Has anyone tried to bake the frozen dumplings instead of frying them? It would be less labor intensive last minute.

really terrific....made as an appetizer for a holiday party to rave reviews from everyone.... a bit fussy and time consuming to put together but VERY impressive and worthwhile.... I will make these again

I used several layers of phyllo pastry, instead of wonton wrappers, to create a more crispy less crunchy outside wrapper, more messy but much more satisfying

I recently executed this recipe as an appetizer for a holiday party, and the results were excellent. I don't think a single guest who tried it didn't rave. I served mine with a Jarlesberg cheese sauce (almost fondue style) vs. baking to melt the cheese per order to make it more buffet friendly, and found the flavors and textures of the recipe to be a delightful way to serve this classic dish.

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