5 sweet onions (like Vidalias) (about 4 pounds) (I know it sounds like a lot, but trust me, they’ll cook down)
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 – 10 ounce can beef consomme
1 – 10 ounce can beef broth
2 – 10 ounce cans chicken broth
(Optional: Sub ½ cup of a good white wine for some of the chicken broth)
10 ounces apple cider
Bouquet garni; a couple of thyme sprigs, one bay leaf and a few sprigs of fresh parsley tied together with kitchen string
1 loaf country style bread (or, ahem, use my yummy fresh baked bread recipe from elsewhere on the site)
Ground black pepper
1 cup Fontina or Gruyere cheese, grated OR (believe it or don’t), I have even used slices of Provolone cheese
Trim the ends off each onion then halve them lengthwise. Remove the peel and finely slice into half moon shapes. Separate the slices.
Set your electric skillet to 300 degrees and add the butter. Once the butter has melted add a layer of onions and sprinkle with a little salt.
Repeat layering onions and salt until all of the onions are in the skillet. Do not even think about trying to stir until onions have sweated down for 15 to 20 minutes.
After that, stir occasionally until onions are dark mahogany and reduced to approximately 2 cups. This should take 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Add consomme, beef broth, chicken broth, (wine, if you’re using it), apple cider and bouquet garni. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
Place oven rack in top 1/3 of oven and heat broiler.
Cut country bread in rounds large enough to fit mouth of oven safe soup crocks. Place the slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 1 minute.
Season soup mixture with salt, and pepper. Remove bouquet garni and ladle soup into crocks leaving one inch to the lip. Place bread round, toasted side down, on top of soup and top with grated cheese or slices of Provolone. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.