Ok, I heart France, let me just say that. If it weren't for the French, it would be a swell place to hang out. (ah, I kid, I kid...) And one of the things j'adore is onion soup. I pretty much love onions in any way I can get them; sometimes I just order onions and pineapple on my pizza - Mmmmm - but I digress. Onion soup has the best aroma and is perfect for post-windstorm weather. So, I made up a batch and thought I'd share the recipe that I adapted from Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World. (Aside: if his recipe is the best in the world, what in the heck am I doing adapting it?)
4 medium onions, sliced thin (I use a mandolin)
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cups good beef broth
2 tablespoons sherry, cognac or other alcohol of your choice
Thyme (or Herbes de Provence)
Salt and Pepper
4 slices Swiss cheese (or parmesan if you prefer, but I do like my soup a little more cheesy)
4 slices (1 inch thick) hearty bread, preferably a little stale
Olive oil, kosher salt
Put the butter and olive oil in a stockpot, melt the butter then slowly cook the onions in the pot for 40 minutes or so. Add the broth, sherry, 1 tsp of dried thyme or herbes de provence, salt and pepper to taste. Bring the broth up to a slow boil then reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer at least 15 minutes (I let it go for a few hours). Drizzle the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Toast the bread in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Take four ramekins or other oven proof containers and place a slice of toast in each. Divide the soup among the cups and lay the cheese on top. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts and it is bubbly, probably five minutes. C'est bien.
And as always, try to get your ingredients from local sources. The onion farmer you save may be your own, or something like that...