Peel the onions and halve them vertically. Cut the halves lengthwise into thin slices.
In a 10-quart stockpot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the oil, onions, and salt, and stir to coat the onions. Cook, covered, over low heat - stirring occasionaly so the onions do not scorch - just until the onions are soft but still pale, about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to coat the onions. Immediately add the stock, wine, 4 quarts of water, the white pepper, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Bring just to a boil. immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. (The soup can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance. Refrigerate in a covered container. Reheat gently at serving time.)
Preheat the broiler.
Ladle the soup into individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top each serving wiht a slice of toated baguette. Cover the bread with a thick coating of grated Gruyere. Place under the broiler. As soon as the cheese begins to bubble, serve the soup.
NOTE: The Brasserie Balzar on the Left Bank in Paris, is one of the few restaurants in Paris that still serves this traditional French soup. This is also somewhat lighter in color than some onion soups you may be familiar with. Patricia says to be sure and use the best-quality imported Swiss Gruyere you can find. You won't regret it.
|... an excerpt of:
"The Paris Cookbook" from (Warner Books)
click on the cover to see it at Amazon.com