ONION AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM SOUP WITH GOAT CHEESE CROUTONS
3 T butter
1 1/2 pounds onions, halved, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1.5 pounds portobello mushrooms, stem, halve and cut in /4 strips
3 T Cognac or brandy
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 c vegetable broth
1 c dry white wine
18 1 inch slices French bread baguette, toasted
8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese at room temperature
Melt 1 T in heavy large pot over high heat, add onions and thyme and sauté until onions begin to soften, reduce heat to low and cook until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes). Place onion mixture to medium bowl.
Melt remaining 2 T butter in same pot over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, sauté until soft, add Cognac and garlic, stir 20 seconds, stir in onion mixture, then broth and wine. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until onions are very tender (35-45 minutes). Discard thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler and put baguette slices on large baking sheet, spread with goat cheese and broil goat cheese until cheese begins to brown. Divide soup into 6 warm bowls, top with toasts and serve. Makes 6