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Easy French Onion Soup

The onions can be caramelized a day ahead. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to finish the soup.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 lb. yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef stock, homemade (see related recipe at left) or purchased
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 12 to 16 French bread slices, each 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 lb. Gruyère cheese, shredded

Directions:

Caramelize the onions
In a large fry pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Uncover, add the sugar and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.

Simmer the soup
In another saucepan, bring the stock and wine to a boil over high heat. Slowly add the stock mixture to the onions, stirring to blend. Add the pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially and simmer until the onions begin to break down and melt into the broth, about 45 minutes.

Finish the soup
Meanwhile, preheat a broiler.

Place the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil and toast under the broiler, turning once, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Rub the bread with the cut sides of the garlic and set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Place 6 to 8 ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet. Ladle the soup into the bowls, filling them about three-fourths full. Top each serving with 2 slices of toast. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Soup, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2006).