This classic soup gets a lift from lager; the beerâ€™s light sweetness enhances the sugars that result from slow-cooked onions. Keep a close eye on the pot: The onions can turn from sweet and caramelized to bitter and charred in mere moments.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups thinly sliced sweet onion (about 1 pound)
- 4 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 1Â½ pounds)
- 4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about Â½ pound)
- 1 12-ounce bottle lager
- 6 cups beef stock
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 8 slices crusty bread
- 4 cups shredded Swiss cheese, like GruyÃ¨re
• In a large soup pot or Dutch oven (the more surface area, the better) over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, leeks and shallots; do not stir for at least 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they are completely soft and caramelized.
• Pour in the beer and stir, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the beef stock and black pepper, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes.
• Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the thyme leaves, cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
• While the soup steeps, cut bread slices to fit snugly inside ovenproof ramekins or crocks. Toast each bread slice in the toaster or a low oven.
• Pour the soup into 8 ramekins or crocks, top each with a slice of toast and pile ½ cup shredded cheese on top of each toast. Place the ramekins on a baking tray, and set the tray under a broiler. Broil until the cheese melts, and serve.