The Famous French Onion Soup Dumplings
The best bite of French onion soup is the first, marrying the beefy broth, caramelized onions, a bit of the soaked bread, and, of course, the bubbling cheese that oozes over the edges of the bowl. Chris Santos wanted to re-create that perfect mouthful with these soup dumplings, which contain a condensed version of the soup and are baked with a generous serving of gooey Gruyère on top. This dish is one of his proudest culinary accomplishments, and now you can make it at home for your guests.
6 to 12servings
6 to 12servings
Onion-Shallot Filling
  • 1/2cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2medium yellow onion, thinly sliced(1 cup)
  • 2medium shallots, thinly sliced(½ cup)
  • 1cup hearty red wine, such as Shiraz
  • 1cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar (preferably aged)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Twevle(3/4-inch) cubes artisan bread, crusts trimmed
Soup Dumplings
  • 36 square wonton wrappers
  • 1large egg, beaten
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2cups shredded Gruyère cheese(8 ounces)
  • softened butter, for the dishes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Special Equipment: 2 ovenproof escargot dishes, each with 6 indentations, or 1 large gratin dish without indentations; 12 (4-inch) wooden or bamboo skewers, for serving
  1. To make the filling: At least 6 hours (but preferably, at least 12 hours) before making the dumplings, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and shallots and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until they are deep golden brown and very tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and cook, stirring often, until the wine has evaporated to a glaze, about 7 minutes. Stir in the beef and chicken broths, bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid has evaporated by half, about 10 minutes. You want to make sure that your soup has a thick texture—more onion than liquid. Stir in the thyme and vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
  3. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Pour the filling into the pan and loosely cover the top with the wrap. Freeze until the filling is solid, at least 4 hours, or up to 1 day.
  4. To make the croutons: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Stir the oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Add the bread cubes and toss well to coat the bread. Spread the mixture on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the croutons are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  5. To make the dumplings: Invert and unmold the frozen soup mixture onto a cutting board. Using a heavy knife, cut the mixture equally lengthwise into 4 long strips, then vertically into 9 sections to make 36 cubes. Keep the cubes frozen until ready to wrap.
  6. Working with about 9 wonton wrappers at a time, place the wrappers on a work surface. Lightly brush the edges of the wrappers with the beaten egg. Place one cube in the center of a wrapper. Bring up the edges and tightly pinch them closed to create a small packet that resembles a purse. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cubes and wrappers. Cover tightly and freeze for at least 2 hours. (To freeze longer, transfer the frozen dumplings, separating the layers with waxed paper, to an airtight container, and freeze for up to 1 month.)
  7. Pour enough oil to come about 2 inches up the sides of a large, deep saucepan and heat over high heat until the oil reaches 350ºF on a deep-frying thermometer. Place a large cake rack over a large rimmed baking sheet to drain the fried dumplings.
  8. Remove 12 dumplings from the freezer, reserving the remaining dumplings for another use (see introduction). In batches, without crowding, carefully add the dumplings to the oil (the oil will bubble up) and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a wire spider or slotted spoon, being careful not to pierce the dumplings, transfer them to the wire rack to drain. (The dumplings can stand at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.)
  9. Position the broiler rack about 8 inches from the source of heat and preheat the oven on high. Lightly butter 2 escargot dishes (including the tops) or a large oval baking dish.
  10. Place each dumpling in its own indentation in the escargot dishes. Cover each dish with the shredded Gruyère. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, spear each crouton onto a skewer.
  11. Insert a crouton-speared skewer into the top of each dumpling, being sure not to poke the bottom of the wrapper, or the dumpling will leak. Sprinkle the dumplings with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

This recipe makes 36 dumplings, but only 12 of them are used here. Unless you’re having a big party, I suggest freezing the full batch of dumplings and cooking them as needed. For a quick soup, the leftover dumplings can be added to hot chicken broth and simmered until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Or, they can be steamed on an oiled rack over boiling water for about 6 minutes and served with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar glaze.