Homemade onion soup is especially delicious on a cold winter's night. Serve it as a dinner party first course or with a mixed green salad for a weeknight light supper.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound yellow onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (2 to 3 medium)
1 pound sweet onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (2 to 3 medium)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons medium sherry
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Kretschmer Original Toasted Wheat Germ, divided
8 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal baguette slices
4 ounces Gruyere, Comte or Emmental cheese, thinly sliced
Special equipment: 4 (8- to 10-ounce) flameproof soup crocks or ramekins
Melt butter and olive oil in a 4-quart heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Stir in sherry, beef broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
While soup simmers, move oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350° F. On large baking sheet, arrange bread in a single layer and toast, turning once, until completely dry and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove bread from oven and preheat broiler. Place crocks or ramekins in a shallow baking pan. Discard thyme stems from soup, stir in wheat germ and ladle soup into crocks. Place 2 pieces of toasted bread on soup in each bowl and evenly sprinkle Gruyere over toast.
Transfer baking dish with crocks to oven and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Note: You can prepare soup ahead of time, up until after thyme is removed. When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator, reheat soup until piping hot, stir in wheat germ and proceed with remaining directions.