A nice warm basic soup on a chilly fall day really hits the spot.
2 tablespoons butter, plus 2 T. melted for spreading
3 large onions (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup red wine
1 quart beef stock
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 loaf french baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices and basted with melted butter
2 cups shredded swiss cheese (about 6 ounces)
Melt the butter in a large thick pan. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, until the onions soften, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Stir in the red wine. Add the stock and and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the soup has a deep flavor, about 30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter the bread on both sides and place on a baking sheet. Toast the bread for 15 minutes, turning the slices halfway through, until golden and crisp but not dried out. Raise the oven temperature to 425°.
Bring the soup to a simmer, ladle it into 4 deep ovenproof bowls and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Place a crouton in each bowl and sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Bake the bowls of soup on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling. Serve hot.