I made this soup based on how our knife skillz teacher told us he made his when we sampled some. It was so good, and really rather easy. I used a Tyler Florence method of making large cheese croutons and plopping them on top of the soup, and broiling the whole thing. Soup crocks are helpful with that.
4 large Vidalia onions or 5-6 yellow onions, sliced
2 quarts of beef stock (chicken works ok too)*
sherry (maybe 1/4 cup)
fresh thyme (a couple sprigs)
two bay leaves
small sprig of rosemary
a cheese cloth or at least some butcher’s twine (I had these “soup socks” my mom gave me for Xmas
salt and pepper
butter or olive oil (I usually use a bit of both)
crusty bread or baguette, sliced
gruyere cheese, grated (I’ve also used Asiago)
Heat some butter and/or olive oil in a large pot on low. Add onions, salt them, and cook on very low heat for at least an hour, caramelizing them, stirring occasionally. I find this often takes more than an hour.
While that’s happening, toast your bread slices in a 375 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with some sherry – cook another 5-10 minutes until wine is cooked away.
Put herbs into a cheesecloth (if you can’t find one, tie them together and leave the string long and hanging out of the pot). Add beef broth and herbs to pot. Simmer for another 30 minutes or so, so herbs get infused into broth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove bunch of herbs from soup, as well as bay leaves.
Preheat oven to broil. Cover slices of bread (about the size of your soup bowl) with grated cheese. Place on top of soup, which you’ve ladeled into individual oven-safe bowls, and broil until bubbly and golden. If you can’t find an oven-safe crock for your soup, just make the croutons on their own and put on top of your soup bowl when they’re done.
*I sometimes add a can of Campbell’s beef broth to this if it tastes to0 sweet, since boxed beef stocks vary so much in taste, and I like a beefier soup