French Onion Soup Flatbread
Wanna hear something ironic?
I do not like onions!
They better stay away from my burger and don’t they dare touch my salad.
Caramelized onions though? That’s another story; they’re my jam. In. Love!
It’s pretty magical how the simple act of sautéing them in a little nub of butter until deep golden brown, takes them from humble, harsh-tasting and stinky to glorious, sweet and caramel-y.
I jump to the chance of sticking them into pretty much everything that goes into my mouth, from grilled cheese sandwiches (YUM!), on top of salads, over steak and chicken, folded into rice, and now THIS!
Why?! Because French Onion Soup rocks my world! My mom used to make us a MEAN one growing up, and so I’ll always have fond childhood memories of it. But as much as I love soup, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS love carbs more!
So this bread is basically French Onion Soup, minus the broth.
You get a thick, crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside flatbread, piled with sweet caramelized onions and mounds of melted cheese. Gruyere, mozzarella and Parm. Uh huh! We are not kidding around here.
For the flatbread base, I used my trusty Pizza dough recipe that I’ve used previously here in the most unconventional, but delicious of ways. It’s not a thin and crispy pizza crust, but more like a pan pizza with a thick and chewy crust. The top and bottom beautifully crisps up, while leaving the interior nice and soft. I LOVE IT!
Then for the caramelized onions, I used a revolutionary method that shaves the amount of work (and stinkiness) in half. At least. Normally, to caramelize onions, you need to babysit them on the stove for around 40 minutes of continual stirring on low heat, until you smell like an onion yourself. And truthfully, at least in my experience, the results aren’t all that. They always turn out unevenly cooked with crispy edges and not as sweet as I like. So when I discovered this magic trick, it was like a sweet revelation. Not only is the method so quick and easy, the final results are always consistent, producing sweet and soft onions without any bitterness. The secret here is the MICROWAVE! It takes over more than the first half of the cooking process, while you do something more useful away from the smell. You just add the final touches on the skillet.
So before we go into the details of caramelizing onions, let’s start by making an easy peasy pizza crust. Then letting it rise in a lightly oiled bowl, 45 minutes to 1 hour. While that’s doing its thing, let’s make our phenomenal caramelized onions!
Here’s the trick…you toss your sliced onions with a little salt, cover the bowl with a plate and let it cook itself in the microwave for 20 minutes. Now go enjoy yourself somewhere else and savor the fact that you just skipped the most horrid step of caramelizing onions. Away from the stove. Away from the smell. The microwave will cook and wilt the onions for you, so all that’s left to do is give it some caramelization over the stove in about 15 minutes! If you’ve made caramelized onions before, you’ll know that its quiet a big deal.
So after the microwave finishes most of the job for you, you melt some butter on medium-high heat in a skillet, then add your wilted onions. Look how soft and translucent they’ve become!
Now start cooking, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom and sides of the skillet, while the liquid evaporates and onions start to brown, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the skillet bottom is coated with a dark crust. This takes about 8 minutes. You’ll then use a little beef broth to deglaze the pan. Scrape the skillet bottom to loosen the crust, and cook until the broth evaporates and the skillet bottom has formed another dark crust, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat this process of deglazing the skillet with broth 2 or 3 more times, until onions turn brown.
Now for some brightness and sweetness, I like to add a little bit of balsamic vinegar. You won’t really taste it, but it will give more depth of flavor. Stir that in until it evaporates. Then for added sweetness, I also like to add a touch of sugar. Its up to you though. The onions will still taste naturally sweet without it, so give it a taste before adding it in. So after the sugar gets cooked in, give yourself a high-five because you’re done! Now tell me that wasn’t quick and easy.
Remember that dough we left hanging around to rise? Yeah, get that and cut it in half. Then take one of the halves and flatten it into an oblong shape on a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour.
For added yumminess, smear a mixture of butter and garlic all over then add that gruyere!
Now comes your sweet caramelized onions. Put as much or as little as you’d like, then top with some mozzarella. Bake it in a HOT, HOT oven until the crust turns golden brown and the cheese gets all melty and gooey. It takes no time; just 6-8 minutes! Repeat with the other half of dough.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, because 2 types of cheese weren’t enough, and garnish with some thyme leaves. Cut it up in any shape or form you fancy.
Then pull it a part and enjoy that stringy, messy gooeyness of this yumminess.
Hmmm…Does this still count as French after being pizza-fied? Or should we call it American-inspired Egyptian-made Italian French Onion Soup Flatbread?
I’ll just go with: That Yummy Thing. Quick Onion Caramelization method adapted from Cooks Illustrated Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
For the Flatbread Dough:
For Caramelized Onions:
For the Toppings:
For the Flatbread Dough:
For the Caramelized Onions:
Topping & Baking the Flatbreads:
Quick Onion Caramelization method adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
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