1 Tablespoon butter [I used three because of the gas stove – it melts away too fast to be useful. I use real butter in this recipe, baking and soups need the real stuff.]
2 Tablespoons olive oil [I used EVOO, of course]
4 large onions, finely sliced [I used three organic yellow onions and one fresh green onion from the Berlin Farmer’s Market]
2 to 5 cloves of garlic [I used four]
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine [I used a white cooking wine, but I am sure if you used a nice quality white wine it might add something to it]
2 1/4 quarts beef stock [I used beef stock from bouillon cubes, I am going to make this recipe again with real beef stock and see if it edits the sodium amount – and no the soup is not salty from using the cubes]
2 tablespoons brandy (optional) [I didn’t use any because I don’t have any in the house]
6 to 8 slices french bread, toasted
3 cups grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese [I used Gruyere, see notes]
1. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or flameproof casserole, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 to 12 minutes until they are soft and beginning to brown. [I used one of my soup pots for this like I have from the beginning. Make sure you are stirring the onions or they will stick to the bottom]
2. Putting one garlic clove aside, finely chop the rest and add to the onions. Add the sugar and thyme and continue cooking over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes until the onions are brown, stirring frequently. [Stir, stir, stir, and stir some more. Watch your heat on this step because all you have to keep the mix from burning is the little bit of oil and butter from step one.]
3. Sprinkle the flour over and stir until well blended. Stir in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam from the surface. Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in the brandy, if using. [I completely forgot the flour on this step and had to add it later, ugh. Make sure you add it here before all of the liquid is added or you will have a cruddy time trying to make sure you mash all the little lumps it turns into. I did not use the brandy.]
The soup itself is done at this point. If you are not going to eat it right then and there you are finished making it. I put the cheese into the containers to freeze with it so when I warm it up I already have my cheese in it. I am skipping the bread in it because I just think it is soggy bread. *grins* However, if you are going to eat the soup now, continue to step four.
4. Heat the broiler. Rub each slice of toasted french bread with the remaining garlic clove. Place 6 to 8 flameproof soup bowls on a cookie sheet and fill them with about three-quarters full with the onion soup.
5. Float a piece of toast in each bowl. Top with grated cheese, dividing it evenly. Broil about 6 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and bubble. Serve piping hot.
I found the Gruyere cheese in the “fru-fru” cheese section at my local store. It is high-end. I paid almost ten dollars for a block of it. However, as much as I LOVE French Onion soup, the cheese just does it for me. I have tried it with other cheeses and it simply doesn’t compare to the taste or quality of the Gruyere. Splurge and make it with the correct cheese.
Makes 12 measured cups.