Yes, it really does take two days for it to taste its best, so this recipe is perfect for Mrs. B's Retro Cooking Month, picking recipes that take a little longer to prepare, for the weekend.
She hasn't been around, and I'm wondering if she got caught in that huge snowstorm and lost power. I truly hope not!
Whatever the reason, we'll have some warm soup waiting for her when she returns.
You are going to need:
4 Tblsp. Unsalted Butter
6 Large Yellow Onions (yellow onions will make the best soup)
Table Salt or sea Salt
2 Cups of Water, plus more for deglazing
1/2 Cup Dry Sherry
4 Cups Chicken Broth
4 Cups Beef Broth
6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, tied with kitchen twine, OR 1/2 Teasp. dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
Ground Black Pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and move the rack to the bottom position.
Generously Spray the sides and bottom of a heavy Dutch oven with cooking spray. Cut the butter into 4 pieces and lay in the bottom of the pan.
Peel the onions and halve them pole to pole, then slice in 1/4 inch thick pieces. Put all of the onions in the pot, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Put a tight fitting lid on your pot, and slide it into the oven for 1 hour.
At the end of the hour, remove the lid, give the onions a stir, then position to lid so that it has a vent, and put it back into the oven for another hour.
At the end of the second hour, repeat, stirring the onions, and scraping down the sides of the pot. Keeping the lid ajar, return the pot to the oven for about another hour, checking after 30 minutes. You want the onions to be golden brown, and very pliable. Each time you check, scrape down the sides and bottom, putting the fond that collects on the spoon, back into the pot.
Carefully remove the pot and place it on a burner. This is where those Ove Gloves come in so handy, but if you don't have any use oven mitts. The pot will be HOT for a long time!
Over medium-high heat, cook the onions, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, 15 - 20 minutes. If you notice them browning too quickly, turn down the heat. Continue to cook the onions until a thick brown crust forms on the bottom of the pot. (I took the photo before it got completely crusty, because at that point, I needed to be pouring water and scraping, not taking photos! lol)
Stir in 1/4 cup of water, scraping up the crust and stirring it back into the onions. Again, let the water evaporate, and a crust form. Add another 1/4 cup of water, and scrape up that luscious crust. Repeat this 3 or 4 more times, or until the onions are a very dark, very rich brown.
Stir in the sherry and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates.
(at this point I like to add another half a cup of sherry to the broth, but that is a personal taste)
Stir in the broths, 2 cups of water, the thyme and the bay leaf, scraping up any remaining bits of crust on the bottom and sides of the pot.
Increase the heat to bring the soup to a brisk simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove pot from heat, and let cool a bit before refrigerating.
The next day, remove the covered pot from the refrigerator, and skim off the solidified grease on the top. If there are onions sticking to it, I peel them off and return them to the soup pot.
Heat the soup through, stirring it occasionally. Remove the bay leaf, and the thyme sprigs.
While the soup is reheating, slice your baguette into 1/2 inch slices. Place them on a cookie sheet and slide them into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden on the edges.
Shred or thinly slice the Gruyere cheese. I add a little freshly grated Parmesan too, because that is my Hub's favorite cheese. Don't be afraid to experiment if you like another cheese better.
Adjust the top oven rack to about 6 inches below the broiler element. Preheat the broiler. Ladle soup into oven proof bowls, lay a slice or two of bread on top, being careful not to overlap.
Sprinkle generously with cheese, and put the bowls on a cookie sheet.
Slide the soup bowls under the broiler, and keep an eye on them. You want the cheese to melt and the soup to get bubbly around the edges. Let it cool 5 minutes before serving.
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