How to improve a piping hot bowl of soup in chilly weather? Pile on the cheese!
2 1/2 lbs Vidalia Onions, sliced
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of sugar
1 cup white wine or sherry
2 tablespoons AP flour
6 cups beef stock
few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove
sourdough bread, sliced, lighly toasted
grated gruyere cheese
a few fresh thyme sprigs
chopped chives, for garnish
In a heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and thyme and season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of sugar. Let cook, stirring occasionally for about 20-30 minutes, or until nicely caramelized. Deglaze with the wine, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated.
Add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent lumps. Add the beef stock, bay leaves and thyme and cook for 30-40 minutes. Add the vinegar (which will add a nice brightness) and season with salt and pepper. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
When ready to serve, preheat the broiler to high and portion the soup into ramekins or broiler-safe bowls. Top each with a slice of sourdough bread, grated Gruyere and a fresh thyme sprig. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and brown; add some chopped chives and serve.