6 large onions of mixed variety (mostly sweet yellow, but mix in some shallots, white onions, vidalia, etc)
2 qts beef stock or veal stock
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 tsp dried thyme or lots of fresh thyme
1 T butter
2 large beef short ribs (optional)
1/4 C white wine (optional)
lots of salt
Slice your onions thinly; if you have a mandolin use it to save time. Try to keep some longer strands along with some smaller ones.
Begin by melting the butter in a large soup pot or dutch oven at medium high heat, then (if using them) add the salted short ribs, browning on each side. When finished browning, remove ribs and set aside, add 1/4 C white wine to deglaze, (if you are not using ribs, continue here) then add the onions with 1-2 T kosher salt (a lot less if you are using iodized for some inexcusable reason) & the thyme, then reduce heat to medium low. Cook the onions at least 1 hour until limp and golden, and sweet to taste.
Add the ribs, stock, and bouillon cubes to the pot. Cover and cook at medium low or low for 1-2 hours. Remove ribs and seperate the meat, adding back to the pot in small pieces. Chop if necessary, removing large pieces of fat or other matter. Test for seasoning and add salt if needed.
If you do not have ramekins or other fire-safe serving ware, you’ll want to prepare the bread separately. Heat the oven to 400, slice the bread and top with gruyere. Cook about 10 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Place on top of the soup when serving.
If you do have ramekins, add the soup to them, a piece of bread to fit the top, and top generously with grated gruyere cheese, placing under the flame of your broiler until bubbly and golden.