As I said on my Onion Ring recipe, "sometimes I get a hankering for onions." I had three nice fresh onions calling to me from the kitchen the other night, so I decided to cook up some French Onion soup. This is a simple recipe, but the carmelizing of the onions takes some time. Boy is it Yummy though. Even my onion averse husband ate a bowl and loved it.
Peel and cut off root and top of onions. Cut in half from pole to pole (top to bottom) then place onion half flat side down and cut about 1/4 inch thick slices (also from top to bottom with the grain of the onion). Cutting the onions this way will aid in keeping the onions from breaking down to mush as they carmelize. This will be quite a large pile of onion slivers.
In a large diameter, deep frying pan or Dutch oven, melt butter and add oil, heat on medium high to slightly brown the butter. Wide pans make it easier to get good carmelization faster. As soon as the butter is slightly brown, put in all the onion slices, thyme and bay leaf and stir to coat with the oil. Turn heat down to medium and pat onions down to get contact with the pan. Check browning after 5 and 10 minutes to determine how long to let it brown between stirring. Set timer for however many minutes you determine and let the onion slivers brown, returning to stir and bring the carmelized part to the top, reset timer and keep stirring and checking until a brown residue is covering the bottom of the pan. (BROWN, NOT BLACK) Add about 1/2 cup of broth to pan, stir until all broth is evaporated (deglaze the pan), and then set timer and stir again until the residue forms again. Turn heat down if it is browning too quickly. Deglaze two more times with broth, letting onions get deeply red brown. When dark brown, remove the pan from the heat (to avoid a flare up), and do a final deglaze with the sherry. Return pan to heat to let it evaporate almost completely.
Remove the bay leaf and then add all the remaining broth and seasonings. Simmer soup for 15 to 30 minutes, taste and adjust salt and pepper.
To serve, fill either broiler proof ramekins/soup mugs about 2/3 full of hot soup, toast baguette and sprinkle with Gruyere chees to cover then float toast on top of soup and slip under the broiler for a few minutes until cheese melts and browns slightly. Serve
OR dish up a bowl full of soup and serve with grilled Swiss cheese sandwiches.