8 slicesItalian or French Breadcut into 1 inch slices
For Instant Pot French Onion Soup
Turn Instant Pot to saute and allow to heat. Be sure it on normal heat. Use +/- buttons to adjust.
Once the Instant Pot has heated, add in the olive oil, onions, and shallots.
Allow the onions to break down and begin to caramelize, stirring occasionally. This takes about 10 minutes.
Add in the butter and fresh thyme leaves and saute for another minute or two.
Add in the red wine, if using, and allow to saute for 1-2 minutes, while stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the inner pot. After two minutes, turn the Instant Pot OFF.
Add in the beef stock, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and brown sugar.NOTE: If you are not using red wine, be sure to scrape up the bottom of the inner pot after adding the beef stock.
Place lid on the pressure cooker and be sure vent knob is sealed. Set cook time for 20 minutes on high pressure by hitting the manual or pressure cook button and using the +/- buttons to adjust the cooking time.
Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally. This takes about 15 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and ladle the soup into serving bowls to be topped with the cheese topper.
For Crostini Topper
Preheat the broiler. Place sliced bread on a baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes per side until the bread is just toasted. Remove from the oven and top each slice of bread evenly with shredded cheese. Broil until cheese has melted--watch carefully! Ladle the soup into bowls and top with crostini.
Alternatively, ladle soup into oven-safe serving bowls and place on a baking sheet. Top with a slice of bread and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Place baking sheet in the oven and broil until cheese has melted and browned. Watch carefully so the bread does not burn. Be careful serving, as the bowl will be hot.
Onions: Vidalia onions are best for French Onion soup, as they are perfectly sweet and caramelize perfectly. However, yellow onions will work as well. Wine: Be sure to use a dry red wine, such as Cabernet or Merlot. A dry sherry wine or dry marsala wine can be used in place of the red wine as well. To omit alcohol, use stock in place of the wine.Thyme: Fresh thyme is best, but you can use ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves if needed.Stock: For stock, low-sodium beef stock adds the most classic flavor to this French Onion Soup. However, vegetable or mushroom stock can be used to make this soup vegetarian. Cheese: Gruyere Cheese, Swiss Cheese, or even sliced provolone cheese can be used for the crostinis.Stock and Worcestershire sauce are both salty, so I recommend adding salt to taste after the French Onion Soup has cooked. Storage Instructions: Store any leftover soup in an airtight container once cooled for up to 4 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat the soup and then top the soup with the bread and cheese as directed.