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French Onion Soup

To speed up this classic soup without sacrificing its soulful flavor, simply caramelize the onions in a dry nonstick skillet (be sure to use one with a silicone surface designed for use over high heat, not Teflon), and use good-quality beef stock, preferably one that is low in salt.

Ingredients
•    2 medium onions, finely chopped
•    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
•    1 tablespoon Calvados, Applejack, or other brandy
•    4 cups low-salt beef stock
•    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•    4–8 1/2″-thick slices baguette, cut to fit ramekins
•    1 cup grated Gruyère or raclette cheese

•    Special equipment: Four 10-ounces ramekins

Preparation
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook onions in a 12″ nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring constantly, until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add butter and toss onions to coat. Remove pan from heat and stir in Calvados. Return pan to heat and continue cooking until Calvados is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer until soup is reduced to 4 cups, about 5 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide soup among ramekins. Top each ramekin with 1-2 slices of bread. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over each. Transfer baking sheet with ramekins to oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and browned in spots, about 4 minutes.

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