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Recipe: French Onion Soup

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This onion soup recipe, which serves four generously, is adapted from Julia Child’s recipe in her behemoth The Way to Cook. It’s delicious even without the Gruyère-and-French bread topping.  I’ve tried this with 1015 onions (Texas’ version of sweet Vidalia onions), and they don’t work well with this recipe; they’re too sweet. —Lori Moffatt

French Onion Soup

  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 8 cups thinly sliced yellow onions  (about 2 ½ pounds)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1T flour
  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought beef stock
  • ¼ cup brandy or sherry
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 8 thick slices of French bread, toasted
  • ¾ pound grated Gruyère

In a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, over moderate heat, melt the butter with the oil. Stir in the onions, cover, and allow the onions to cook for about 15 minutes, until they are translucent. Stir in salt and sugar, increase the heat a bit, and let the onions caramelize until they are dark brown, stirring occasionally. This will take anywhere from a half hour to an hour.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture, stir a few times, and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let it cool a little.  Meanwhile, heat your stock in the microwave or in another pot.  Whisk in 2 cups of hot stock, bring to a simmer, then add the rest of the stock, along with the brandy or sherry, and the wine.

Cover partially, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer about 1½ hours. 

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper if desired.

Divide the soup between 4 ovenproof bowls. Arrange the toast on top, then sprinkle with cheese. Place bowls in a casserole or cookie sheet and broil until the cheese melts and gets a little bubbly. Serve, and prepare for compliments.

From the August 2010 issue.

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