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French Onion Soup

1 kg (2 lb) onions
90 g (3 oz) butter
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
8 cups hot vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
Thick slices of French bread
250 g (8 oz) Swiss cheese
125 g (4 oz) parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cognac or brandy (optional)

Peel onions and cut into thin uniform slices so that they will cook
evenly. In a large heavy based saucepan heat the butter and oil,
but don't let the butter brown. Add sliced onions and cook on low
heat, stirring now and then, until they are soft and golden. This
could take up to 1/2 hour, and must not be hurried if the soup is
to have a good flavour. Sprinkle the sugar and flour over and stir
for a few minutes longer, or until they are golden brown.

Pour in the boiling stock, white wine, salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. While soup is simmering toast
the bread to a pale golden brown. If liked brush each slice with
a little olive oil and rub lightly with a cut clove of garlic.

Grate the Swiss cheese coarsely, and the parmesan finely. Mix
together and sprinkle generously on the toasted bread. Return the
bread to preheated griller or oven to melt the cheese.

Put bread into a large tureen or individual soup bowls. Add brandy
to soup and ladle over the bread, which will float to the top.

Serves 8

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