3 to 4 pounds Spanish onions, peeled, sliced fine with the grain
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 gallon beef stock (may
substitute good-quality paste beef base and 1 gallon water)
Salt to taste (omit if using beef base)
Pepper to taste
1/8 to 1/4 cup dry sherry, optional (see note)
Slices of crusty Italian bread 1/4 inch thick (pieces should be as large as the opening in your serving dishes)
Garlic powder to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Slices of Swiss or Gruyere cheese (cut 1/4-inch
thick and just slightly larger than your serving dishes so cheese rests on rim and
Shredded cheese (use equal amounts of sharp Cheddar and Monterey
Sauté onions in butter using 6- to 8-quart uncovered soup pot. Cook over
medium heat until onions begin to brown and caramelize. Stir to color evenly
and prevent burning. Add brown sugar, decreasing amount if a less sweet soup
is desired. Add base if using and mix well. Add strained stock or water, if
Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes to develop flavor.
Do not overcook onions. Season to taste with salt, if not using beef base, and
pepper. Add sherry, if desired.
To make croutons, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut slices of bread to fit into soup cups. Place on cookie sheet and drizzle
with melted butter. Sprinkle with a little garlic powder and generous amount
of Parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is lightly browned.
If bread is fresh, keep croutons in a warm place so they will become crisp all
the way through.
To serve, spoon soup into individual 8-ounce oven-proof cups. Float crouton
on top of each cup of soup. Top each crouton with slice of cheese, making sure
slice reaches just over rim of bowl so it will seal down crouton. Top slice
of cheese with heaping tablespoon of shredded mixed cheeses.
Set soup cups on tray or cookie sheet and broil in oven 1 to 3 minutes or
until cheese melts.
Makes about 16 side-dish servings or about 8 main-dish servings.
Note: For larger servings, use a larger size bowl and cut both bread and cheese
slices to fit. Use only sherry you find acceptable for drinking for this recipe.
Do not substitute the cooking variety.