French Onion and Mushroom Soup

Serves 6

Note: Caramelizing the onions slowly and using good-quality chicken stock is the key to this recipe. Feel free to leave out the mushrooms if you prefer a more traditional soup. If you have homemade beef broth, use that instead of the chicken variety, if you prefer. From Meredith Deeds.

• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

• 1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced (see Note)

• 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 3/4 tsp. salt, or more

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more

• 1/2 c. dry white wine

• 8 c. chicken stock or broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought; see Note)

• 4 sprigs fresh thyme

• 1 tsp. lemon juice

• 4 c. cubes of rustic French bread

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 1/2 c. shredded Gruyère cheese

Directions

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the onions to the pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the onions are a mahogany brown. Add the garlic, salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Raise the heat to medium-high and return the browned mushrooms to the pot, along with the white wine. Cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, until the wine has mostly evaporated. Add the broth and thyme sprigs, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Add more salt and pepper, if desired.

Meanwhile, place the bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Set oven to broil. Set 6 ovenproof bowls or crocks onto a large baking sheet. Ladle the soup into the crocks, top with bread cubes and a generous sprinkling of cheese. Broil until the bread is lightly toasted and the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 370 Fat 22 g Sodium 810 mg

Carbohydrates 28 g Saturated fat 10 g Total sugars 6 g

Protein 20 g Cholesterol 45 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1½ starch, 2 medium-fat protein, 2 fat.