Our gratitude goes out to Constance Compton for sharing her recipe.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon mild-flavored olive oil
- 1½ -2 pounds assorted onions and shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 cups homemade beef stock, approximately
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Fresh black pepper and sea salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons cognac
- for gratinee option: crocks, toast, gruyere, a broiler
In a heavy-bottomed stock pot, melt butter and oil together. Reduce heat as low as it goes on your stove top, perhaps even putting a flame tamer on the burner. Add the onions, toss well to coat. Cover and cook undisturbed for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Remove lid, add the salt and sugar, toss well. Turn the heat up slightly and then keep a close eye on the onions, making sure they don’t scorch, stirring often. It will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to reduce down to a dark brown caramel color.
Once the onions are evenly done, add the flour and cook for a minute or two so the flour basically disappears. Add the wine and thyme, stir well and then add the stock slowly while you continue to stir. Simmer soup for 20 minutes, taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add cognac and let simmer another 20-25 minutes. Remove the sprig of thyme.
Serve as is or ladle into oven-safe crocks, top with appropriately-shaped dry toast, and sprinkle with a generous serving of grated gruyere. Put under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.
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Serves 6 – 8.