Oh, a side note....I personally do not care for croutons or toast in my French onion soup; I think that ducks have the copyright on soggy bread. So, my recipe is written omitting the toast. However, if you like it, feel free to add it on top of the soup, before the cheese.
French Onion Soup
adapted from Rachael Ray
1 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbl. unsalted butter
6 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1 tbl. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups beef stock
1/2 pound cheese (my favorite is smoked Provolone, but you could use mozzarella, white cheddar, gorgonzola--your choice!)
Heat a deep pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter to the pot. Add the onions to a pot as you slice them, followed by the chopped garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add rosemary and the bay leaf.
Cook onions for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender, sweet, and a deep caramel-colored. If the onions begin burning is spots before they are browned all over, add a splash of water and stir every now and then, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Once the onions are tender and brown, add the balsamic vinegar and white wine, stirring up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the beef stock and cover the pot to bring the soup to a quick boil.
While soup is boiling, preheat the broiler to high.
Arrange 4 small, deep soup bowls or crocks on a cookie sheet. Once the soup reaches a boil, remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs, and ladle soup into the bowls. Top with cheese and place in broiler for a couple minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.