1 lb. lean bacon
8 large onions, sliced thin
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
4 Tbsp. all purpose flour
8 cups canned beef broth
2 whole bay leaves
1 cup dry sherry wine
1 tsp. Frank Davis Vegetable Seasoning
1 loaf French Bread (toasted & cubed)
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups canned chicken broth
1 tsp. basil
Salt black pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish
First, start off by frying down the bacon in a heavy 12-inch skillet until each strip turns brown and crisp. When cooked, place the bacon on several thicknesses of paper towels so that they drain. Then crumble them into coarse pieces and set them aside for a while.
Next saute the onions and celery in the bacon drippings until they turn a 'caramel color.' This is probably the most important part of the recipe, because it converts the acids in the onions to 'natural sugars' and makes them sweet. When they are browned, gently sprinkle in the flour and mix it into the onions well (but do not let the flour cook into a roux!). All you want is the flour to absorb the onion juices so that it can act as a thickener. (Don't be afraid to add a 'tad' more flour if you want to.)
At this point, transfer the sauteed mixture to a 6-quart Dutch oven (not cast iron!) and pour in the stocks (both the beef and the chicken). Bring the mixture to a boil, but as soon as it boils reduce the heat to the point of it 'just bubbling'. Then stir in the remaining seasonings bay leaves, basil, thyme, vegetable seasoning, salt and pepper. Go ahead and mix everything together well. Then turn the fire to low and simmer the soup base for about 45 minutes...covered.
Now, put in the wine, turn up the fire to medium, and cook off the alcohol (it will take about 10 minutes, so the pot should be uncovered.) This is also when you make your final adjustments with salt and pepper.
When the soup is ready, fill soup crocks with toasted French bread and ladle in enough of the onion soup to fill the crock about an inch from the top. Then, in a bowl, mix the three cheeses and the crumbled bacon together, generously sprinkle the mix over the soup, put the bowls under the broiler until the cheese melts and the soup is hot and bubbly, and garnish lightly with parsley. Serve piping hot.
It might just be a rumor, but it's been said that this was the Indians' favorite dish on that first Thanksgiving!
The onion soup can be made several days in advance and kept refrigerated until served.
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