Yield: About 4 quarts
5 pounds unpeeled onions
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
3 quarts beef broth (regular or low-sodium)
1 cup white wine, optional
Caramel coloring or Kitchen Bouquet, optional
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
Sourdough or French baguettes, thinly sliced, optional
Swiss or Gruyere cheese, optional
1. Peel onions and slice 1/8 inch thick. Melt butter in a 6-quart (or larger) stockpot. Add onions; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Sprinkle with pepper, paprika and flour and add bay leaf; sauté over low heat 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Slowly pour in broth and wine, stirring constantly. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
4. As soon as the soup boils, reduce heat to low and simmer very slowly for 2 hours.
5. If desired, adjust color to a rich brown with caramel coloring. Season with salt. Refrigerate overnight so flavors can blend.
6. To serve, reheat soup. If desired, pour into ovenproof crocks or bowls. Top with a slice of bread and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Heat under the broiler until cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.
Per cup: 145 calories; 6g fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 15mg cholesterol; 5g protein; 18g carbohydrate; 6g sugar; 3g fiber; 760mg sodium; 35mg calcium.