In the South, you are supposed to eat black-eyed peas and greens for luck on New Year's Day. In my family, we have always carried on a tradition that is from my mother's side of the family: French Onion Soup, the hot, bready, cheesy kind.
I made it and took it to the folks' house. And to make sure there was plenty for leftovers, I used six pounds of yellow onions.
I don't know if you have ever sliced and cooked six pounds of onions. It is a daunting task. For it, I hauled out my mandolin. Red and I bought it years ago. After a lot of shopping (hard to find, back then) we found it at a restaurant supply house. And I had to order the finger guard separately. After all the time and expense, I found I almost never use it. It does have one perfect application, however, and that is French onion soup. The mandolin is just hard enough to assemble and clean (not real hard, just hard enough) that I rarely bother unless I am making something in volume. In this case, I was. Also, it was important that the onions be uniformly sliced, something I find hard to achieve with a knife or a food processor. I only sliced off one fingernail doing it, too (which stayed on by a thread, so I didn't have to hunt for it)...I sliced them about 3/4 without the guard, then did all the ends one after another using the guard.
Six pounds of onions, sliced thin
4 ounces unsalted butter (one stick)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
Thyme, salt and pepper to taste
Cognac or dry sherry (optional)
Stale French Break
Grated Emmenthaler or Gruyere cheese (lots)
To bake, put soup in oven-proof bowls and top with 3/4-inch thick slices of baguette, then a handful of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until a light brown crust forms. Serve.
You may also put it under the broiler to prepare quickly (make sure the soup is hot first.)
I looked at the Cook's Illustrated version before I started. They suggest using red onions, mixing chicken and beef broth, and adding the red wine. They also suggest a combination of Swiss cheese (Emmenthaler or Gruyere) and Asiago.
Whatever. I was happy about the broth combination, since I forgot to buy it when I got the onions, and didn't have a critical mass of either alone. My onions were yellow, my cheese was Emmenthaler. The results were delicious.