Crock of Five Onion Soup
From Chef Jonathan Bohn, The Decoy Bar and Grill
1 Spanish or yellow onion, sliced thin
2 shallots, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb fennel, sliced thin
1 bunch scallions, slice thin
1/4 lb butter
2 Tbs blended olive oil
6 slices provolone
1 Cup grated aged gruyere cheese
1 qt chicken stock
dried oregano or thyme, to taste
2 slices toasted or grilled thick cut sourdough bread
2 Cups pale lager (PBR, bud, coors light etc) or white wine 1/2C cheap whiskey or brandy salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
Begin by melting the butter in a large saute pan or skillet on medium heat. Add the blended oil and all five sliced onions, a pinch of salt, and some pepper. Let the onions carmelize slowly, over a period of 1 to 2 hours, making sure that no pieces scorch on the sides or bottom of the pan. A wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula works best for this application.
When the onions have reduced in volume by 2/3, deglaze with the beer, wine, or liquor. Make sure to scrape off the bottom of the pan, unleashing the "fond" (wiki that for a full explanation) into the mixture.
When the alcohol has burned off, about three minutes, add your stock and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add salt, pepper, and maybe a little soy sauce to taste and turn off your heat.
Place your toasted bread in a crock or heavy soup bowl, with a portion of it sticking out. Pour your soup into the bowl.
Place the provolone on top of the crock, covering the bread and the sides of the bowl. Top with grated gruyere, thyme, or oregano.
Place on sheet pan or saute pan and roast in the oven, 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and crispy and the soup is bubbling pleasantly.