FRENCH ONION SOUP

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Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

7 large yellow onions, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons mushroom bouillon (I used better than bouillon organic mushroom base)
2 quarts water
4-6 slices day-old sourdough bread or whole-wheat bread, each sliced 1/2 to 1-inch thick, toasted
7 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated or sliced thin
Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine the onions, olive oil, butter, and salt in a 4-quart sauté pan or Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-high, spread the onions over the bottom of the pot, and cook without stirring until the bottom of the pot begins to turn brown, about 5 minutes. Stir the onions with a non-abrasive spoon or spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and deglaze the pot, stirring to pick up any remaining browned bits. Continue cooking until the browned fond forms again. Scrape and deglaze the pot with another 1/2 cup wine and repeat the process 3 more times until the onions have slowly turned a deep caramel hue.

Add the bouillon to the onions and stir until evenly coated. Pour in the water, bring the pot to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until the soup is seasoned well from the caramelized onions, about 20 minutes. Taste to adjust for seasonings.

Preheat the oven to 400º. Arrange ovenproof bowls over a rimmed baking sheet and ladle the soup into the bowls filling them almost to the rims. Place a slice of toasted bread onto each serving and top with the Gruyère. Bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes, season with ground black pepper and serve.

Terry Ramsey