Onion Soup Gratinée Lyonnaise

This classic Lyonnaise-style French onion soup is a hearty mixture of deeply-colored, caramelized onions, chicken stock, and layers of toasted French baguette. It's topped off with a thick, creamy cheese crust.

Yield: 6 servings

1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. corn oil
1-1/4 lb. onions, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 lb. Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, grated
10 c. chicken stock
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and chopped
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 French baguette, cut into 36-48 slices

Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan on high heat, add the onions, and sauté for 10-12 minutes until browned.

Mix the grated cheeses together and set aside.

Add the stock and garlic to onions. Boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Push the soup through a food mill, and add pepper and salt.

Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange bread slices in one layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Place 6-8 slices in each of 6 12-oz. bowls and arrange bowls on a cookie sheet.

Turn oven up to 425°. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of cheeses on top of bread and fill bowls to the rim with soup. Sprinkle 1/2 c. of cheeses on top of the soup, making sure it covers the soup and touches the entire inside edge. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and browned. Serve.

Recipe courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf, ©2001 Jacques Pépin