It must be getting cold in Chicago, because they are thinking about hot soup there. The inimitable Dargie ( whose motto is: "If life gives you lemons, squeeze those suckers hard enough to squirt life in the eye!") sends us a recipe anyone can follow -- Dargie's Onion Soup.
Dear Soup Lady, This is the way I cook. Measurements are for baking where they matter. Slice up a lot of white and/or yellow onions or a combination thereof (I don't like red ones in this soup because of the color, and I don't like very strong ones in my soup either. BTW, for anyone who doesn't know, the rounder an onion is, the stronger it will be. Flatter onions are sweeter. ) I don't know how many. What's a lot for you? Good, that's how many you slice up.
Throw a nice-size lump of butter into your soup pot, and add some olive oil. When the butter is melted and swirling around, making nice with the oil, throw your onions in and caramelize them. Sprinkle them with a bit of sugar (not much, this isn't dessert you know. Just a teaspoon or so to help with the caramelization. Don't hurry this part because it takes time - as much as half an hour - to make the onions beautiful and golden, and to get them to release their sugars.
Once they've achieved this pinnacle of onion perfection, fill the pot with stock. How much you use depends on the balance of onion to broth you like. I like a bowl loaded with onions, but you may prefer a bowl of broth with onions as a kind of condiment. Either way, add stock accordingly. I like to use a combination of stocks because I think it adds depth to the soup. Try a combo of beef and chicken. If you're really daring, a touch of fish stock really is wonderful. Just a touch. This isn't bouillibaise. Be careful not to make the stock too salty.
Bring to a boil and add a tot of wine. I kind of like port because it's got some body to it, but any good red or white will do. Again, not a lot, but just enough to add to the complexity. This would be a good time to add a bouquet garni, or a few herbs. Whatever you like. I'm partial to a bit of thyme in this, or a Provencale mix. Reduce heat. Simmer for an hour or so, until the onions are lovely and tender, and all the flavors have had a chance to blend.
While it's cooking, you want to toast some slices of French or Italian bread, and grate some cheese. A mix is best. I like parmesan and swiss, but I've used romano, cheddar or anything that's been at hand (No, not cottage cheese or Velveeta! Behave yourself.) and it's all been great. Put a slice or two of bread at the bottom of your bowl. Sprinkle generously with cheese, and ladle the hot soup over it. You could do the whole bowl-under-the-broiler thing if you want a toasted effect, but I like my cheese gooey, so I never bother. If you do broil it, be sure you've got your soup in ovenproof bowls, and put the bread and cheese on top of the soup, not under it. Eat it. Stop when you've had enough or the soup runs out.
Oh, that Dargie! I do belive this is the first recipe posted here that calls for a tot of wine.