1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
6 large yellow onions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
7 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 onions, sliced
6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices French bread
Grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large saucepan and then add 6 sliced onions. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add sugar and flour. Stir-cook a few minutes, then stir in stock, salt (remember, Parmesan is salty, so adjust accordingly if you're using it) and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Stir-cook 2 sliced onions in 1 tablespoon of butter until caramelized. Once they are browned and slightly crisp, add to the soup for color and taste.

Toast French bread, then place in a warm oven to dry out. Fill individual earthenware bowls with soup. Put toasted bread atop the soup. Let it soak and sink into the soup, then sprinkle with cheese. Broil a few minutes to brown the cheese. Serve with plenty of crusty French bread.

Makes 6 servings

— "Hows and Whys of French Cooking," by Alma Lach