Sprinkle cheese over bread and brown under broiler.
Did you know that Les Halles in Paris was as famous for its onion soup as it was for the huge food market? Carrying fresh produce is hard work and obviously required hearty replenishment! Here is the perfect example of how the simplest ingredients can be used to create a very special soup. The addition of port turns hearty fare into a chef's delight.
4 medium onions
3 tablespoons safflower or olive oil
1/2 cup port
8 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bouquet garni made with sprig of thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 celery stalk
12 slices French bread, about 1/4-inch thick
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
Thinly slice the onions.
In a large stockpot, over medium high heat, heat the oil and sauté the onions until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with port. Add the stock, salt, pepper, and bouquet garni and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
Dry the slices of French bread in a warm oven. Place 1 slice in each of 6 oven-proof bowls.
Pour the soup over the bread. Top each bowl with 1 slice of bread and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of cheese. Brown under the broiler.
Serve immediately with French bread.
Soup and wine? Why not? Do what the French do and choose a simple red, a vin du table like a Cote du Rhone or one of the many new varietals from the Pay d’Oc. They seldom cost more than $15 and provide a note of authenticity with this classic soup.
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