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EASY FRENCH ONION SOUP

 A Classic French Recipe Made Easy 

Is there anything more comforting on a cold winter day than a cheesy, sweet-oniony, beefy French onion soup? Onion soups go back as far as Roman times -- hearty food for the poorest among us since onions were plentiful and easy to grow. The version we make today started its life in 1800's Paris around the stalls of Les Halles. What eventually became "French" onion soup was the addition of a heavy dose of grated cheese and placing the bowls under the broiler. The basic soup is easy peasy with the exception of its secret: caramelizing onions to perfection aka a long slow cook. After that it requires adding a beefy broth, a crusty slice of country bread and loads of gruyere, or any Swiss cheese you have on hand. And a broiler!

INGREDIENTS:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or Butter infused oil
4 to 5 medium onions sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces 
2 x 284mls cans condensed beef consommé (Campbells works)
1 to 2 cups water
4 thick slices French bread for large crouton
1/2  to 3/4 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (or substitute any Swiss)
Optional: Garlic olive oil for drizzle when serving
DIRECTIONS:

On medium-low heat in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet add oil and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 30 to 45 minutes until soft and golden brown.  In a Dutch oven add beef broth, 1 cup water and caramelized onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, then simmer for 30 minutes. Add a more water to the consommé as desired. 

While the soup is simmering, place bread on parchment-line baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Heat broiler, placing rack 4 to 5 inches away. Toast for 30 seconds, then remove and flip placing cheese evenly on slices. Broil for 20 seconds until cheese is melted. Remove from oven. To serve, pour onion soup into bowls, then float toasted , cheese side up. Sprinkle with extra cheese and a drizzle of Garlic olive oil. If you wish you can prepare the soup and store in fridge for one week, or freeze.