This is the best French onion soup I have ever made. The photo shows the soup prior to having the toast and cheese on top. It is so flavorful, there is no way you can eat just one bowl! :) It is a great one to freeze and use later.
1 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
3 pounds onions, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick (10 cups)
½ c dry sherry
½ c brandy
1 ½ c dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
8 cups canned beef broth or homemade beef stock
3 bay leaves
1 T kosher salt
1 ½ t freshly ground pepper
Sourdough or white French bread, crusts removed, sliced ½ inch thick, and toasted
4 to 6 ounces swiss cheese, grated
1. Heat the butter and oil in a large stockpot on medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 30-40 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until the onions turn a golden brown. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and brandy and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes.
2. Add the beef stock, bay leaves, salt and pepper and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and taste for seasoning. (If you are freezing the soup, put it in quart containers and freeze at this point.)
3. Preheat the broiler and position the rack 5 inches below the heat source. Ladle the soup into heat-proof serving bowls, cut the toasted bread to loosely cover the top of the soup, sprinkle generously with grated cheese, and broil for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, House Beautiful magazine May 2009