1. FOR THE SOUP: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a large (at least 7-quart) heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with vegetable oil spray. Place the butter in the pot and add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (the onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 1? to I ? hours longer, stirring the onions and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot after 1 hour.
2. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle the pot, cook the onions, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown. 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the heat to medium if the onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with a dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on the spoon back into the onions.) Stir in ? cup water, scraping the pot bottom to loosen the crust, and cook until the water evaporates and the pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat the process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until the onions are very dark brown. Stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and ? teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on the bottom and sides of the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer, Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard the herbs, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. FOR THE CROUTONS: While the soup simmers, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp, and golden at the edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
5. TO SERVE: Adjust an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on the baking sheet and fill each with about 1? cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap the slices) and sprinkle evenly with the Gruyere. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (1138g)|
|Recipe Makes: 6 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 339 (48%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 37.7g||50 %|
|Saturated Fat 23.1g||115 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 9.8g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 2.1g|
|Cholesterol 91.6mg||28 %|
|Sodium 3024.4mg||104 %|
|Potassium 844.8mg||22 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 65.6g||19 %|
|Dietary Fiber 4.7g||19 %|
|Sugars, other 60.9g|
|Protein 21.6g||31 %|
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Calories per serving: 699
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