The key to this recipe is cooking down the onions. It will take 50 to 70 minutes to cook the onions down. Because it takes so long to cook them, I usually double the recipe and have it for lunch the next day or freeze the soup for another night. This is great with a grilled ham and swiss on rye or with a salad if you are looking for a little lighter meal!
4 T. unsalted butter
4 lbs. onions halved, and sliced thin
1 t. sugar
1-¾ t. salt, divided
¾ c. dry red wine
8 c. beef broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 lg bay leaves
1 lg baguette cut into 1-inch cubes
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded, which is about 2 c.
1-½ to 2 oz of parmesan cheese, shredded, which around ½ c
In a large pot, melt the butter and add the sliced onions, 1 t. salt and 1 t. sugar at medium high heat. Stir to get the sugar, salt and butter distributed thoughout the onions. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the onions are translucent. Make sure to stir occasionally.
Uncover and cook until the liquid has evaporated, and the onions just start to brown a little bit, about 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, continue to cook the onions uncovered until they are a nice caramel color, about 35 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally. If the onions start to burn, turn the temperature down a little.
Stir in the wine and stir. Let the wine cook off for about a minute. Add the broth, thyme, bay leaves. ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 30 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, pour the olive oil, ¼ t. salt and ¼ t. pepper in a large bowl. Add bread cubes and toss. Place the tossed cubes on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove, cool, and set aside.
Pre heat the broiler. Ladle a serving of the soup into an oven-safe serving bowl. Put a few of the cooled bread cubes on the soup and cover with about a quarter cup of Gruyere cheese and sprinkle with some parmesan. Put the bowls on a cookie sheet and put into the oven until the cheese is melted and turning slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool a couple of minutes before serving. Remind people the soup is very hot when serving. Enjoy!