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Five-Onion French Soup

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The French never rush their onion soup. They take the time to enjoy every bite. The key is to simmer it slowly. The universal onion is said to increase body heat, improve kidney function, lower cholesterol and act as an antibacterial agent.

The French never rush their onion soup. They take the time to enjoy every bite. The key is to simmer it slowly. The universal onion is said to increase body heat, improve kidney function, lower cholesterol and act as an antibacterial agent.

1 white or Bermuda onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 silver onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable stock
1 tsp (5 ml) mixed herbs (such as herbes de Provence)
Sea salt or vegetable salt, to taste
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
1 1/2 Tbsp (22 ml) balsamic vinegar
4 pastry rounds (see recipe)
1 free-range egg, beaten
Gruy? or Swiss cheese, grated

Pastry:
3/4 cup (185 ml) organic whole wheat flour
Pinch sea salt
1 free-range egg yolk
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp (15 ml) whole milk or water, cold
1 Tbsp (15 ml) natural sugar (such as Rapadura)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chives, chopped

In a large pot, gently heat oil over medium heat and saut?nions and garlic until translucent. Add vegetable stock, herbs and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in butter and balsamic vinegar then pour soup into individual ovenproof soup bowls. Place a piece of pastry on top of each bowl, pressing the sides firmly in place. Bake in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 10 to 15 minutes until pastry puffs up and is golden. Brush pastry with egg and sprinkle cheese over top. Return to oven and broil for two to three minutes until cheese melts.

Sift flour onto a clean flat surface and sprinkle with salt. Make a one-inch (two-and-a-half cm) dent in the flour and add egg yolk and one tablespoon (15 ml) of butter. Mix with your hands until crumbly. Add milk and mix again until dense and smooth. Place dough in a bowl, cover and refrigerate one to three hours. (The longer the dough is refrigerated, the crispier the pastry.) Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature then add one tablespoon (15 ml) of butter and chives; knead until incorporated.

Dust a clean flat surface with flour and roll out the dough. Cut in rounds large enough to hang over soup bowls one-half inch (one cm) around.

Bermuda onions have a sweet and delicate taste. Silver onions, called chapotes in Italy, are small onions that are flat on top and bottom, and are also great for marinades. Herbes de Provence is a mixture of thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, tarragon any herb from this sunny region of France.

Source: alive #228, October 2001

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