Recipe by Hélène Dujardin of Charleston, South Carolina
6 tablespoons butter
6 medium-large Vidalia onions, peeled and thinly sliced
10 cups beef stock
1 bouquet garni (a couple sprigs each of thyme, parsley, and rosemary, and 2 bay leaves tied together with kitchen twine)
⅓ cup cognac or sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices day-old sourdough bread
4-6 ounces gruyère or sharp cheddar, grated
In a large stockpot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook for another 40 minutes, stirring frequently until onions are lightly browned.
Add stock and bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes. Remove bouquet garni. Add cognac or sherry and cook for another 10 minutes uncovered. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Divide soup into six oven-proof bowls. Place a slice of bread on top of each soup bowl and divide cheese evenly among each serving.
Bake bowls on a baking sheet in middle of oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Serve hot.