2 tbls olive oil
4 large sweet onions
a pinch of sugar
4 leeks, white and tender parts, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic minced
8 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper
12 slices French bread
4 oz. shredded Gruyere or Comte' cheese
In a large nonaluminum dutch oven over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and saute', stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 mins. Add the sugar and leeks and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until caramelized, 30-45 mins. Increase heat if necessary to achieve color.
Add the garlic and saute' for 1 min. Add the stock, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 mims. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Discard the bay leaf.
To serve, preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into individual flameproof soup bowls. Place 2 or 3 slices of toasted bread on top of each bowl and sprinkle with the cheese. Slide under the broiler about 6 inches from the heat element. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, 3-4 mins. Serve immediately.