On a chilly day, there’s nothing more appetizing than a bowl of steaming hot onion soup, bubbling away under a blanket of browned cheese. Normally, caramelizing the onions for this masterpiece is a laborious process that can easily involve an hour of almost constant stirring. Fortunately, your slow cooker can now do most of this tiresome work for you.
Yield: Serves 6
3 lbs (1.5 kg) sliced onions (about 6 medium onions)
1. In slow cooker stoneware, combine onions and butter. Stir to coat onions thoroughly. Cover and cook on High for 1 hour, until onions are softened.
2. Add sugar, salt and peppercorns and stir well. Place two clean tea towels, each folded in half (so you will have four layers), over top of stoneware, to absorb the moisture. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours, stirring two or three times to ensure that onions are browning evenly, replacing towels each time.
3. Add vegetable stock and brandy, if using. Remove towels, cover and cook on High for 2 hours.
4. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls. Place 2 slices baguette in each bowl. Sprinkle liberally with cheese and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until top is bubbling and brown. Serve immediately.
Since it’s important that the stock for this soup be very flavorful, I recommend using Enhanced Vegetable Stock. The results are more than worth the added effort. This is one of the best onion soups ever!