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La Baguette's French Onion Soup

6 C. (2 lbs.) thinly sliced yellow onions
5 T. unsalted butter
1/2 C. dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc), optional
10 C boiling chicken stock
2 t. black or white pepper, or to taste
French-bread croutons
1/2 lb. genuine Gruyère or Austrian Swiss cheese, grated

Cook onions in butter, covered, over medium-low heat until moisture forms and onions are transparent but not brown, about 20 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to medium and cook 45 minutes or longer, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated and onion's natural sugars caramelize; onions should be and turns them dark golden-brown. Add wine and bring to boil. Add chicken stock; simmer 2 hours, covered with lid partially ajar, on low heat.

Refrigerate, uncovered overnight. When cold, skim congealed butter off top.

Before serving, add pepper to taste and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Place broiler-proof bowls on baking sheet. Fill each with soup and top with croutons and a handful of cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Serves 8

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