Thursday, November 2, 2000 Living L11

Soupe à l'Oignon

French Onion Soup

Reproduced without permission from Time Life Books' "The Cooking of Provincial France"
Assorted Soups

To serve 6 to 8


French Onion Soup

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds onions, thinly sliced (about 7 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 quarts beef stock, fresh or canned, or beef and chicken stock combined
  • 12 to 16 one-inch-thick slices of French bread
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, cut
  • 1 cup grated, imported Swiss cheese or Swiss and freshly grated Parmesan cheese combined
   In a heavy 4- to 5-quart saucepan or a soup kettle, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. Stir in the onions and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the onions are a rich golden brown. Sprinkle flour over the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. In a separate saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer, then stir the hot stock into the onions. Return the soup to low heat and simmer, partially covered, for another 30 to 40 minutes, occasionally skimming off the fat. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if needed.
   While the soup simmers, make the croûtes. Preheat the oven to 325°. Spread the slices of bread in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. With a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of each slice with olive oil. Then turn the slices over and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the bread is completely dry and lightly browned. Rub each slice with the cut garlic clove and set aside.
   To serve, place the croûtes in a large tureen or individual soup bowls and ladle the soup over them. Pass the grated cheese separately.
   ALTERNATIVE: To make onion soup gratinée, preheat the oven to 375°. Ladle the soup into an ovenproof tureen or individual soup bowls, top with croûtes, and spread the grated cheese on top. Sprinkle the cheese with a little belted butter or olive oil. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, then slide the soup under a hot broiler for a minute or two to brown the top if desired.
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