French Onion Soup

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Glenn loves French onion soup and orders it whenever it appears on a restaurant menu.  Unfortunately for him, we have yet to find it any where here in Albania so his  opportunities to enjoy it have been limited over the past couple of years.  Having recently (re)discovered my own oven-proof bowls, I decided to surprise him with a dinner of homemade French onion soup.

This recipe is from my go-to soup cookbook, Williams Sonoma’s Soup of the Day.  I’ve discovered that the key to a good soup is starting with a good quality base.  Because meat bones are readily available at all the local butchers and it is so difficult to find good quality and low sodium broths and stocks here I opted to make my own.  I particularly like Martha Stewart’s but if you are short on time or have good quality store bought ones available to you, skip this step.

FRENCH ONION SOUP

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 1/2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups dry white wine

8 cups beef broth or stock

1 bay leaf

6 slices thickly cut country-style bread

3 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

  • In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter with the oil over medium-low heat.
  • Add the onions and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are meltingly soft, golden, and lightly caramelized, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Add the wine, raise the heat to high,and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the broth and bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until the soup is dark and fully flavored, about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400.  Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast, turning once, until golden, 3-5 minutes per side.  Set aside.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls arranged on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place a piece of toast on top of the soup in each bowl and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake until the cheese is fully melted and the toasts are slightly browned around the edges, about 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6

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