Childhood relived! This is a recipe that I created that is very similar to the one served at Michael's Steakhouse in Birmingham, AL. years ago. Whenever there was something to celebrate in our family, this was the restaurant we were at for the occasion. Whatever you ordered off the menu came with a bowl of their French Onion Soup. Delish!!
Heat your dutch oven up to med. and melt butter & oil. Add the sliced onions, along with a dash of salt and pepper, reduce heat to med-low. Let these cook for 10 - 12 mins., getting a pale golden brown...do NOT let them cook too quickly or they will burn and be bitter.
Add the broth, water, bouillon cubes, bay leaves, thyme, italian seasoning, garlic and A-1 sauce. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle bubble and allow to simmer at least 30 mins. up to 1 1/2 hrs. (as with any soup the longer the better, just be careful not to allow your onions to wither away). If it looks too dry, add a bit more liquid. Some even add 1/2 c. wine to this type soup.
Remove the bay leaves. Ladle soup into oven proof bowls and place onto a baking sheet. Top with a slice of french bread and a generous handful of cheese. Gruyere is costly, but worth it! However, a nice swiss will give you a very similar taste without the added expense. Other cheeses that I think would work well are monterey jack and mozzarella. Place in the oven under the broiler until the cheese has melted. Enjoy.