Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
A bistro basic. To allow its flavor to develop, make the soup, except for croutons and cheese, a day ahead.
- 1 tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil
- 12 slices from thin loaf French bread (1/2-inch thick slices)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large Spanish onions, quartered, cut into 1/4-inch slices (2 1/2 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 9 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 3⁄4 cup dry red wine
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- snipped fresh chives (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. With oil, brush both sides of bread slices (croutons); place on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes, turning once, until croutons are lightly toasted; set aside.
- In Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Cover; cook, stirring twice, until softened, 15 minutes. Uncover; cook until lightly caramelized, 35 minutes. Stir in flour, cook 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
- Preheat broiler. ladle soup into 4 broiler-safe bowls; top with croutons and cheese. Place bowls on baking sheet; broil 4 inches from heat until cheese is bubbly, 2 minutes. Garnish.