or, as it's known in our house: man, that's good onion soup! it has an interesting finish that further enriches an already excellent dish. there's no doubt you have to make your own stock to get the full experience, but it's completely worth it. you'll have sweet caramelised onions in a buttery, beefy broth, topped with croutons smothered in bubbly gruyere. if that's not a cure for a rainy day, i don't know what is.
first, to make beef stock, you'll need 3 pounds of neck bones and/or ox tails, and whatever scraps you have on hand. bring the meat to boil and remove foam. when no more foam is forming, add the veggies: 4 large carrots, 3 parsnips, 6 celery stalks and a few garlic cloves. i also have a large onion in there, because i make a big batch of stock, and only part of it will end up as onion soup. sometimes i'll add a bell pepper if i have it. you also need 2 bay leaves, 10 peppercorns, a bunch of thyme and 2 tb tomato paste. bring everything to boil, then simmer for 2 hours partially covered.
once you have the stock ready, finely slice 3 pounds of yellow onions. spanish onions also work well. this is one of the two modifications i made to this recipe: it calls for 4 tb unsalted butter to sautee the onions and i thought that is too little. i used up an entire stick, and i'm not sorry about it. also, 3 pounds of onion will not become golden in 15 minutes. closer to 30 will be needed. then you add the stock, and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. i let it go to one hour, and it reduced some, it was a very rich broth. the egg yolk and port wine (or marsala wine) finish is an inspired twist, try it! i won't copy down the recipe, the link is right at the top. and the parting note: 1 pound of gruyere is a lot of cheese, especially considering my market charges $15 for it. i used half and it was entirely satisfactory. there, we made up for the extra butter.