French Onion Meatball Bites

While a traditional French onion soup relies on a steady base of beef broth, we brought those umami flavors to the foreground with our Gourmet Beef Meatballs. You’ll find all the usual ingredients for the bistro favorite here, deconstructed as an appetizer.


  •  3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  2 medium onions, halved, quartered, sliced 1/8” thin
  •  ¼ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  •  1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •  ¼ cup beef broth, low sodium
  •  1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  •  1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  •  ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  •  1 tablespoon Armanino Creamy Garlic Sauce
  •  1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  •  30 phyllo pastry shells (2 boxes), frozen
  •  30 Armanino Gourmet Beef Meatballs, ½-oz each, frozen (15oz)
  •  4 ounces gruyere cheese, finely grated (about 1 ½ cups)


  1. For the caramelized onions: In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt the butter.
  2. Add the onions, a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir, cover and cook for another 5 minutes stir, then repeat – stir, cover and cook another 5 minutes. You should start to see some color on the onions at this point.
  4. Remove the lid and continue to cook uncovered, stirring frequently until the onions are darkly browned and caramelized, about 15-20 more minutes.
  5. Add the wine, stirring until mostly evaporated and dry.
  6. Add the flour and stir, cooking for 2 minutes to cook off any floury taste. You will have a sort of onion paste.
  7. Add broth, mustard, Worcestershire, thyme leaves, creamy garlic sauce and balsamic vinegar; stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.
  8. Let simmer until liquid reduces and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes
  9. Let cool completely. To speed up cooling spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and pop in the refrigerator. Onions can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.
  10. To finish: place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F
  11. Place the frozen phyllo cups on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  12. Place a spoonful of the onion mixture, about 1 teaspoon, into each pastry cup along with a good pinch of cheese and a frozen meatball.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are heated through.
  14. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to 400°F.
  15. Top each meatball with a spoonful of the onion mixture, pressing down lightly to adhere.
  16. Sprinkle the tops with a good pinch of cheese, pressing down lightly to adhere.
  17. Return to the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

Chef’s Tips

  • Look for phyllo pastry cups in the freezer section next to the puff pastry. They are the secret to impressive holiday appetizers with minimal fuss.
  • To slice the onions, cut in half through the root (pole to pole not across the equator), trim off the stem end, and peel. Place the onion cut side down and cut in half from the root end, leaving the root intact to hold the layers together. Slice across the onion into ⅛” slices.
  • Caramelizing onions to develop that notable deep flavor takes time. By covering the pan in the first 20 minutes of cooking, the steam softens the onions, speeding up the process a little. Once the lid is removed, the heat concentrates and caramelizes the onions for that nice, deep flavor. Patience is key.
  • The recipe is best with just a little wine in the mix. White is called for but red will work too. If you don’t have any leftover wine and don’t want to open a bottle, use beef broth instead or look for those small 187ml bottles at the store, sometimes sold individually or in a 4-pack. They’re great to have on hand for cooking.
15 servings
Prep Time
25 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour 15 minutes

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