French Onion Strata

I'm calling this a strata, but it's basically French onion soup that has solidified into an equally delicious main dish. Serve it with a salad, and that's a meal. 
 
It's a little amazing to me how long long it takes onions to cook down, and also how many of them you will need. You can't wander off and leave them, either. It does make this feel a little luxurious. However, once it's in the oven all the work is done, so this is a good dish for casual entertaining, or just for days when you are pottering around the kitchen anyway.
 
4 to 6 servings
2 hours - 1 hour prep time

French Onion Casserole

6 medium-large (8 cups sliced) pink or yellow onions
2 tablespoons chicken or bacon fat, or mild vegetable oil
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
1 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/4 teaspoon rubbed rosemary
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
300 grams (10 ounces) stale but good quality bread
2 tablespoons chicken or bacon fat, or mild vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
250 grams (1/2 pound) Gruyere, Gouda, Comte, or Havarti cheese 

Peel the onions, and cut them in half from pole to pole. Slice them into thin half-moons. Heat the fat or oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the onions for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown. Stir regularly; towards the end you will need to stir them frequently. They should be a fairly even golden brown. 

Meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic, and when the onions are about done, mix the garlic into them with the seasonings, and let it cook for another minute or two. Transfer the onions to a plate and set aside. 

Also meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the bread into moderately thin slices, and drizzle them with the remaining fat (melted) or oil, in a shallow 8" x 10" baking (lasagne) pan. Toss them to distribute the fat and to allow them to stand as separately as possible. Bake them for 15 minutes until crisp and lightly browned. Reduce the oven to 375°F.
 
Whisk the eggs, then whisk in 1 cup of the stock. Dice one half of the cheese and slice the other half thinly.
 
Toss the caramelized onions into the toasted bread. Mix in the diced cheese. Drizzle the eggs and stock evenly over the bread and mix again. Let rest for 5 minutes, then drizzle with more stock if necessary. The mixture should be moist, but all the broth should be absorbed and the bread should not be soggy. Spread it all out with the additions evenly distributed, and top with the remaining sliced cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. 




Last year at this time I made Chocolate-Sweet Potato Mousse or Frosting.

French Onion Strata