This is a tried and true recipe ... once in a while I try to deviate from the plan and am disappointed and remind myself to never do that again.
Now, you probably know, I'm on the fence with soup. I mean, I like it, but I don't LOVE it ... maybe it's the piping hotness that gets me .... I am of that certain age group where suddenly, it's unbearably hot ... and usually within five minutes (thankfully!) all is well again.
Here's what you need ....
3 lbs of onions, make sure ONE is a sweet onion, and ONE is a red onion
1/2 pound smoked bacon
2 tbs thyme
12 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 tbs sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 tbs dry sherry
6 ounces sliced provolone, gruyere or mozzarella cheese (whatever you have will work)
6 slices of baguette or other thick bread
Cut your bacon up in 1/2 inch or so pieces and cook in a LARGE heavy bottom pot til crispy.
While bacon is cooking, slice your onions thin, thin, thin. I use a mandoline, and I asked Hubby how on earth I sliced all those onions back in the day so thin before I had this thing? He said it wasn't pretty ... hmmm ... I think I need to hold back a bowl of soup from him ...
Remove bacon to a lined bowl to drain and toss the onion slices in, on top of the bacon fat, add the 2 tbs thyme. Give a quick stir to mix everything up and then let the onions sit there, undisturbed for about 10 minutes, give them them a quick stir again and really leave them alone for about 20 minutes so they can caramelized. The secret is to NOT TOUCH the onions ... hard as it may be.
Once onions are caramelized, pour in the 1/2 cup of vermouth to deglaze. Allow to cook a minute or so and then pour in the broth and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. NOW, add in your bacon and sherry. Let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour and marvel at the lovely, deep color of the broth. Yummm.
When ready to serve:
Toast the slices of bread under broiler. NOTE: I always drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bread just to give it a little more 'richness'
Place oven proof bowls on a baking tray.
Place bread slice in bowl, ladle a generous portion of soup over the top. Add a slice of cheese carefully over the top of the soup.
Place in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve up and warn everyone that a) the bowl is HOT and b) the SOUP is hot ...
FYI ... we served these with some awesome roast beef sliders ... never got around to making the ham & cheese ones and Hubby said that this soup needed a beefy dish to go along ... watch for THAT recipe soon!
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