2-3 large sweet onions (about 1.5-2 lbs)
3 tsp butter (maybe a little more…)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1.5-2 quarts beef stock
1/4 tsp dry thyme
1 bay leaf
Grated cheese (Gruyere if you’re feeling rich, otherwise Swiss)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Alternately, use an electric skillet set to 300 F (150 C). Once butter is melted, add in sliced onions. After about ten minutes, add salt and sugar (the sugar helps it caramelize). Cook for 30-40 more minutes until onions are a deep golden brown or mahogany. Feel free to steal a couple for some toasted bread if you’re hungry already…
Now add in the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two. Then turn up the heat and add the wine. Let it boil for a few minutes so it reduces. Turn the heat back down and add the stock, thyme, and bay leaf and maybe a little pepper. If you’re like me and occasionally forget to buy enough stock, using 1/2 quart boiling water is okay – but not as delicious. Simmer 30-40 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.
About ten minutes before the soup is done, preheat your broiler. Heat slices of bread for 1-2 minutes, then sprinkle with grated cheese. Return to broiler for 1 minute or until cheese is golden brown. Alternately, ladle soup into an oven-safe bowl and put toasted bread on top, then sprinkle cheese. Put the whole bowl in and cook until cheese is golden brown. If you use this method, you should use a bowl slightly smaller than your bread; use the bowl as a cookie-cutter and make the bread perfectly-shaped to fit into the bowl. Remember, the crouton is what makes the soup!