Extra Cheesy French Onion Soup

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INGREDIENTS

    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 pounds Vidalia onions or yellow onions (about 4 medium), halved lengthwise, peeled, and thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more for tasting
    • 1/2-1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine ( you can skip this ingredient if needed)
    • 6 cups homemade beef broth or store-bought low-sodium beef broth (you can also substitute for beef bouillon)
    • 10 sprigs thyme
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 French baguette
    • 1 garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise
    • 2 teaspoons sherry or dry vermouth (I prefer sherry)
    • 4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
    • 1 cup Parmesan divided equally
    • 1 slice of Swiss cheese per ramekin
  • Special equipment:
    • kitchen twine, six 8-ounce or four 16-ounce oven-safe ramekins or bowls (optional)

PREPARATION

    • In a large Dutch oven or other large pot, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the oil and onions; cook onions are until softened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and sugar; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are deep golden brown and caramelized, reducing heat slightly if onions seem to be browning too quickly, 35 to 45 minutes more.
    • Add wine and raise heat to high. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.
    • Tie thyme and bay leaves into a bundle with twine. Add broth and herb bundle to pot with onions. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until broth is thickened and flavorful, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Taste and adjust seasoning.
    • Heat the broiler. Cut two 1/2-inch baguette slices for every serving of soup. Place baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until crisp and dry but not browned, about 1 minute per side. Rub one side of each toast with the garlic clove and set aside.
    • Place ramekins or ovensafe bowls on a rimmed baking sheet, add 1/2 teaspoon of sherry or vermouth to the bottom of each (I prefer sherry), and ladle soup on top. Top each serving of soup with two garlic-rubbed toasts. Divide cheese among the servings, covering the bread and some of the soup. Lastly place 1 piece of Swiss cheese on top. Carefully transfer baking sheet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbling, 4 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, if using regular soup bowls: Top each garlic-rubbed toast with some cheese and return to broiler to melt, about 2 minutes more. Divide sherry and soup among bowls, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and top each serving with two cheese toasts.) Enjoy!
Lauren Lawless