Heat bacon drippings or butter in a 6-quart pot. Add the sliced onions and sauté
over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. This step
is important for bringing out the full flavor of the onions, which will become brown and
caramelized. Sprinkle the onions with flour, stirring until the flour begins to brown
and starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Scrape up the flour as you stir the onions.
Add the PEPPER and GARLIC and stir. Gradually add the stock, BEEF SOUP BASE (if using),
and sherry. Cook over low heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, which should
be enough time to make great, homemade croutons. After 30 minutes, pour the onion soup
into crocks or oven-safe bowls. Sprinkle with croutons and Swiss cheese. Pop under the
broiler until the cheese melts and is slightly brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle
with Parmesan cheese.
Prep. time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour