Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Old World Onion Soup

Read thru this before cooking; it takes at least 3 hours of attentive cooking for this soup, but it's sooooooooo worth it! You'll need ramekins or some other broiler-proof serving dish for this soup.

3 T. olive oil
5 large sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
1-1/2 c. dry white wine
5 cloves garlic
5 c. vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 T minced minced fresh thyme or 1 t. dried
2 t. minced fresh rosemary, or 2/3 t. dried
1/4 t. crushed dried red hot chilies
1 t. sea salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 loaf sourdough French bread cut into 1/2-in. slices
1/2 c. cognac or brandy
8 oz. Emmenthaler or swiss cheese

In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 T. of the oil over low heat. Add the onions and cook, covered, until the onions begin to brown and have absorbed the oil.

Add 3 T white wine, cover, and cook an additional 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are a deep golden brown. If necessary add more wine, 1 T. at a time, to prevent from burning.

Add the remaining wine, the garlic, vegetable stock, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, chiles, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly brush boths sides of the bread with remaining olive oil. Place on baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, (8 to 10 minutes).. Remove from oven and set aside.

Remove the bay leaves from the soup and add the cognac. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary, and divide the soup into four heavy, heat-proof bowls. Top each w/2 bread slices (trim the bread to cover as much of the soup's surface as possible). Layer the cheese so that it covers the bread completely.

Broil 6 in. from heat source until cheese is bubbling and golden.