When you cook onions slowly for a long time like this, they transform from strong and tear-inducing to … food candy, almost.
4-6 onions — red and yellow (sliced = 6 cups)
8 cups beef broth
1 cup good white wine
3 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1 TBS sugar
1 teaspoon salt
A few grinds of black pepper
3 TBS flour
3 TBS cognac
Sourdough French bread – crusty and artisan, if possible
Extra olive oil
Grated Gruyere cheese
At a low heat, heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil with 1 Tablespoon of butter. When hot, add the sliced onions. Cover and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium, add salt, sugar, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown (about 30 minutes). Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the pot from the stove. Slowly add broth and wine. Return to a low heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. Add the cognac.
While the soup cooks, brush slices of crusty French bread with olive oil. Place them on baking sheet in a 350F oven for 15 minutes. When you are ready to serve, pour hot soup into hot mini-tureens, float a piece of bread on each tureen, spread 2 Tablespoons of the grated cheese on top. Brown lightly under the broiler.
Serve immediately, at midnight, as soon as the champagne has popped.