Being the non-traditionalists we are, my wife and I are serving French Onion Soup for Christmas rather than turkey and trimmings that the world expects. The reasoning is two-fold: 1) We are non-conformists and like to do things differently, and 2) it is much healthier.
The fancy way is to make the soup served with toasted French bread in the soup and then broiled with cheese on the top. We are opting for the more hillbilly style of grilled cheese sandwiches that one may just dunk in the soup. The whole idea makes me laugh, but it is great.
Here is my recipe, which is really just an amalgam of two recipes totally ripped off from The Food Network's Paula Dean and Ina Garten:
FAT JACK'S FRENCH ONION SOUP – HILLBILLY STYLE
6 yellow onions, halved and sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup brandy
1 1/4 cup white wine
9 cups of beef stock
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Saute onions and bay leaf in olive oil for 20 minutes on medium-high heat until golden brown. Add flour and continue to brown for another 10 minutes or so. Deglaze the pan with brandy. Add white wine and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beef stock and thyme and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
I make mine ahead of time and refrigerate over night. I think it tastes better after it chills and is reheated. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches on the side. We choose hearty whole grain bread and shredded cheese, but one could use any bread/cheese combo.