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Thanksgiving is less than a week away and I’m already on overload. I cannot look at another list of the best Thanksgiving sides, the best Thanksgiving desserts, the best stuffings or even the best Thanksgiving cocktails. Menus and recipes are everywhere. All the morning shows, all the talk shows and don’t even get me started on the food channels, have recipe after recipe of wonderful, drool-inspiring vegetables, stuffings, desserts and sides. My Thanksgiving menu has expanded exponentially (not to mention my waistline). That being said, I thought we all might need a break from turkey and trimmings right before the Big Day.

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French onion soup is hearty and perfect for a cold winter’s night, plus it’s so easy to make. It is a labor of love though. In order to get the onions to the perfect shade of mahogany it takes some time. This not a soup you make in a hurry, however once the onions are caramelized the rest is easy.

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This is not my photo. Every time I tried to take a picture of my onions either my camera lens fogged up from the heat or the onions looked grey, which they were not. This photo is from Cooking Light. That is exactly what my onions looked like only I lack the photography skills to show you. This is the dark mahogany color you’re looking for in order to make the best soup, or anything else for that matter. It takes some time, about 45 minutes to an hour at least. But, like so many other things in life, it’s worth it in the end.

French Onion Soup

  • 4 or 5 large Spanish onions, about 4 pounds, sliced
  • 3 Tble unsalted butter
  • 3 Tble olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 8-10 cups homemade or store-bought unsalted beef stock
  • 1 Tble fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 french baguette, sliced on the bias
  • 1½ cups Comte cheese, grated

Melt butter with 1 tablespoon butter in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onions and the salt, cook over medium-low heat until onions are deep golden brown. This may take some time. Be patient. When onions are the color of milk chocolate degalze the pot with the white wine and turn the heat up to medium. Cook until wine has reduced to half, about 10 minutes. Pour in the beef stock, thyme and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the toasts for the soup. Preheat oven to 375˚. Brush remaining olive oil on each side of bread and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven, until toasts are slightly browned. Using tongs, turn each toast over and bake again for another 5 minutes, checking frequently to keep from burning. Set aside to cool while soup simmers.

Preheat broiler and move oven rack to second highest level. To assemble soups, ladle soup into an oven-proof stoneware or porcelain bowl and top with enough toasted bread to cover soup. Place grated cheese on top of toast and place under the broiler to melt cheese. Don’t walk away! Keep checking on the melting cheese until it is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler and let cool a few minutes before serving, being especially careful of the still screaming hot bowl. Enjoy!

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