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updated: 12/6/2011 12:44 PM

Onion and Mushroom Soup

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2 ounces (1 package) dried porcini or similar mushrooms

1 cup boiling water

5 tablespoons butter, divided

3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced

cup white wine

2 leeks, white parts only, cleaned and sliced

2 shallots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups beef broth

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

4 slices stale crusty bread

4 slices fontina cheese

Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Cut or break the dried mushrooms into small pieces and place in heat-safe bowl. Pour the boiling water over the mushroom pieces and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onions and cook slowly until well-browned, stirring regularly, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the onions begin to get too browned, add a couple teaspoons of water. When the onions are browned and caramelized, add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the leeks, shallots, garlic, thyme, rosemary and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the leeks are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat everything. Pour in the chicken and beef broths, then stir well and bring to a boil. Add the steeped mushrooms (including the liquid), then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the broiler.

Ladle the soup into 4 oven-safe crocks. Top each with a slice of the stale bread, then a slice of the cheese. Arrange the crocks on a rimmed baking sheet, then place under the broiler and cook until the cheese is melted and begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve topped with fresh chives.

Serves four.

Alison Ladman for The Associated Press

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