French Onion Soup

(Soupe a ioignon au gratine )

For about 2 1/2 quarts, serving 6

3 TBL butter
1 TBL light olive oil
8 cups thinly sliced onions (2 1/2 lbs.)
1/2 tsp each salt & sugar
2 TBL flour
2 1/2 qt. beef stock, at least 2 cups of which should be hot
4 to 5 TBL Cognac, Armagnac, or other good brandy
1 cup white wine – Saint Peyre Picpoul de Pinet

Browning the onions – 40 minutes. Set the saucepan over moderate heat with the butter and oil; when the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover the pan, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Blend in the salt and sugar, raise heat to moderately high, and let the onions brown, stirring frequently until they are a dark walnut color, 25 to 30 minutes.

Simmering the soup. Sprinkle in the flour and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. When well blended, bring to the simmer, adding the rest of the stock, the Cognac or brandy, and the wine. Cover loosely, and simmer very slowly 1 1/2 hours, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Correct seasoning.

Serving. Serve the soup as it is, accompanying it with French bread and a bowl of grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese.