French Onion Soup
Pairs Well With
Makes 4-6 Servings
4 tablespoons butter
3 pounds onions, preferably a combination of white, yellow, and red, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 leek, white part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
— Kosher salt
¼ cup brandy
— Black pepper in a mill
1 cup medium-bodied red wine (editor's note: Three Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon)
6 cups homemade beef stock
4-6 slices of good bread (2 day old bread is ideal), toasted
12 ounces cheese, grated (Italian Fontina, Gruyére, Monterey Jack or Joe Matos St. George)
In a large, heavy soup kettle, heat the butter until it is foamy. Add the onions and leek, season with salt, and sauté over low heat until very limp, fragrant, and completely tender, about 35 minutes. Do not let them brown.
Turn the heat to high, add the brandy, shake the pan and cook rapidly until the brandy is evaporated. Season with salt and several turns of black pepper. Add the wine, reduce by half, add the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer very gently for about 40 minutes. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
To serve, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Ladle the soup into deep, oven- safe soup bowls, and set a piece of bread on top of each one. Divide the cheese among the servings, set the bowls on a sheet pan, and carefully set in a 325-degree oven for about 7 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove the soup from the oven, place each bowl on a saucer, and enjoy right away.