French Onion Gratin
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 large onions, peeled and quartered
- 6 shallots, peeled and halved if large
- several sprigs fresh thyme
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 11/2 cups white wine, or as much as you have left in an open bottle
- 6 cups beef or chicken stock
- 6 - 8 slices stale bread, toasted if not yet completely dried out
- 1 cup grated cheese such as gruyere, swiss or cheddar
Melt butter and olive oil together in a large dutch oven over a medium heat. Add onions and shallots and cook, stirring only occasionally, until vegetables take on a rich brown color, about 15 minutes. Add all but a sprig or two of thyme and season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup white wine and use the back of a wooden spoon to deglaze, dissolving any of the brown bits that may have cooked onto the pan and creating a rich sweet braising liquid. Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are silky soft about another 45 minutes. Stir in remaining wine and broth. Increase heat and bring liquid to a bubble. Season with more salt and pepper. Simmer until liquid has reduced to such a point that onions and liquid are more or less at the same level.
Heat oven to 425. Arrange stale bread over the surface of onions and broth - pressing down gently on bread. Scatter grated cheese over bread. Top with remaining thyme. Back until cheese is melted and the whole dish is bubbly and hot, about 10 minutes. Serve with a green salad or what else you are lucky enough to pull from the fridge.