This is a comforting soup. My favorite part is the broth simply because it has the sweetness from the caramelized onions and the complexity of the brandy, white wine and beef stock. The Baron's favorite part is breaking through the cheesy crostini to get into the soup. Regardless of what your favorite part is, it's definitely a great soup not just for the cusp of spring but all year round...
French Onion Soup
recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten
2 1/2 pounds yellow onions, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (8 cups)
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup medium-dry sherry
1/2 cup brandy or Cognac
1 1/2 cups good dry white wine
8 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan
6 slices French bread
6 slices of provolone cheese
In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, saute the onions with the butter and bay leaf for 20 minutes, until the onions turn a rich golden brown color. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and brandy and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the slices of french bread and then top each slice of bread with slice of Provolone. Place in a broiler until cheese has browned and bubbled. Remove crostini from under broiler and set aside.
Add the beef and veal stocks plus salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, taste for salt and pepper, and serve hot with grated Parmesan and crostini.