French Onion Soup

Gratinee des Halles

From Bistro by Sharon O'Connor

A large bowl of this hearty soup becomes a meal in itself when served with a green salad and some fresh fruit or other dessert. The soup is even more flavorful when prepared a day in advance.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
5-7 yellow onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 cups dry white wine
8 cups chicken or beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 slices day-old French bread
3 cups shredded Gruyère cheese or Comte cheese

  1. In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and butter until the butter foams. Add the onions and cook for 30 minutes, or until they are translucent and soft. Lower the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are a deep golden brown paste, about 1 hour; stir frequently with a wooden spoon and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  2. Pour in the wine, raise heat to high, and boil until the soup is reduced by two thirds. Stir in the chicken or beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (At this point, you can refrigerate the cooled soup, covered, for up to 3 days; bring to a simmer before continuing.)
  3. Preheat the broiler. Place 6 deep ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a baking sheet. Ladle the soup into the bowls, add a slice of the bread to each bowl, and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.
  4. Makes 6 servings