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French onion meatballs in black cast iron pan featured image.
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4.86 from 7 votes

French Onion Meatballs

These French onion meatballs combine perfectly seasoned beef meatballs simmered in a caramelized onion red wine sauce and finished with gooey melted cheese and toasty baguette.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the caramelized onions

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions sliced thinly from root to stem
  • 3 ounces water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter

For the meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 cloves garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • olive oil for frying

Finishing the dish

  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or sherry optional
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese sliced or shredded, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 slices baguette toasted

Instructions

Make the meatballs and the onions

  • In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and milk together and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix gently until combined.
  • With your hands, roll ~1 1/2" meatballs ( makes roughly 15-18) and set them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Heat a large pan or pot to medium heat and add the olive oil, onions, water, and salt, and mix to coat. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the onions and adjust the heat to avoid burning. Add a splash of water every so often to avoid burning if necessary.
  • Heat a large oven-safe frying pan to medium heat with olive oil poured to a thin layer coating the whole pan. Once the oil is hot fry the meatballs until browned (about 3 minutes per side) then remove with a slotted spoon to a dish and set aside.

Finishing the French onion meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 450f and set the rack on the middle level.
  • Pour off the oil used to fry the meatballs and add all of the onions to the pan from the other pot along with the butter. Continue to cook the onions over ~medium heat until they are deeply caramelized, paying attention to the heat and stirring frequently or adding water to avoid burning.
  • Once the onions are done, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until all of the flour is no longer white.
  • Add the wine and bring to a boil while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge all of the brown bits.
  • Once boiling add the chicken stock and thyme and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Taste test and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add the brandy or sherry (optional) and stir to combine.
  • Add all of the meatballs to the pan and top with 3/4 of the Swiss cheese, then place in the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Top the baguette slices with the remaining cheese and place under the broiler for a minute to toast and melt the cheese but watch closely to prevent burning.
  • For a browner top, broil the meatballs for 2-3 minutes but watch carefully. Garnish with thyme leaves and serve with toasted baguette slices topped with the remaining Swiss cheese. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Homemade chicken stock is recommended so that the flavor is very intense.  If using storebought, opt for chicken base (Better than Bouillon brand).
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be reheated in the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 758kcal | Carbohydrates: 52.4g | Protein: 57.2g | Fat: 33.4g | Saturated Fat: 13.7g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 1177mg | Potassium: 736mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 6.2g | Calcium: 359mg | Iron: 25mg