A classic French onion soup > recipe

French Onion Soup > a classic French onion soup

Ingredients >
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 thyme sprigs
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
8 cups packaged mushroom stock
1 bay leaf
One 2-inch piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
¼ teaspoon dried savory
Twelve ½-inch-thick slices crusty baguette
½ teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1 beef bouillon cube (such as Knorr brand) or 1 tablespoon veal demiglace base

Procedure >
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add ½ cup of the vermouth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the vermouth has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup vermouth, scrape the pan again and simmer for 4 minutes longer. Transfer the onions to a 3-quart stockpot and add the mushroom stock, bay leaf, Parmigiano-Reggiano rind and savory. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
2. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Smash the garlic into a paste with the side of a knife and combine with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Brush the baguette slices with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Place 1 slice of toast in the bottom of each of 4 ovenproof soup bowls. Preheat the broiler.
3. For the vegetarian variation: Remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and cheese rind from the soup and discard. Transfer 2½ cups of the soup to a small saucepan, season with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat.
4. Add the bouillon cube to the remaining soup in the large pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. For the vegetarian variation: Ladle the vegetarian soup into an ovenproof bowl, top with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle with one quarter of the cheese. Place the bowl on a rimmed baking sheet.
6. Fill the remaining 3 bowls with the bouillon-flavored soup and top with the remaining baguette slices and cheese. Place the bowls on the baking sheet. Broil the soups, watching closely, until the cheese is bubbly and brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
7. For the vegan variation: Omit the cheese rind in the soup, omit the cheese topping, serve with garlicky baguette toasts only.

Serves 4.

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