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An Homage To French Onion Soup

It is a foggy rather dismal day and a comforting soup for dinner seemed indicated. I have several kinds in the freezer at all times, none which struck my fancy unfortunately, and then I saw the duck stock that I made a few months ago. Since I had Gruyère in the fridge, French onion soup came to mind -- with the duck stock in lieu of beef stock. Also, though I love cheesy bread, I don't love it soggily sitting in the soup itself so decided to make a cheese toastie on the side.

1 small-medium onion, peeled, halved and cut into half moons

1 1/2 cups of rich stock, duck or beef

1 slice favorite bread ( I used sourdough)

3-4 oz Gruyère (or Emmental if you can't find Gruyère) sliced thinly lengthwise

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsps dry Vermouth

1 Tbsp dry red wine

2 sprigs thyme

White pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Add the oil and the onion slices to a stock pot, along with a pinch of salt. Stir to combine so that the onion slices each have a sheen of oil and then turn the heat on, to low. Cook, stirring every few minutes until the onions have caramelized and turned a lovely golden brown. In my case, this took seven minutes.

Add the thyme and the Vermouth, stir to combine. Cook, still on low, until most of the Vermouth has been absorbed by the onions and they look syrupy, about three minutes.

Pour over the stock, raise the heat to medium and heat through until the stock is pipping hot.

While the stock is heating, turn on the broiler. Place the cheese over the surface of your piece of bread, sprinkle with generous amounts of salt and white pepper. Place under the broiler and cook until the cheese has melted and the bread has toasted. Mine could have stood to stay in a little bit more to develop some caramelization, but I was hungry and took it out at two minutes, about thirty seconds less than it needed (though the cheese was melted.)

Remove the thyme stems from the soup and stir in the red wine. Check if more salt is needed and serve at once, either with the cheese toastie on the side as I did, or cutting it into cubes and floating them on the surface of the soup.


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