The first time I had soup served inside of a bread bun was at the Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco, at that time I had claim chowder, and I though it was great be able to eat everything, even the bowl.
My family says that my cousin Victor Manuel, was fond of this soup, and somwere in my memories I remember some restaurant’s ad with this soup served inside a bread loaf, so when I finally had the oportunity to do it that way, I couldn’t help myself and turned into something delicious.
The trick is isolate the liquid from the bread using cheese as a waterproof agent, so the bread holds shape and texture till the end of the service.
2 lb medium onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 (7oz) small loaves of rounded thick crust french bread
1/2 lb sliced Gruyère cheese
1/2 lb sliced Emmental cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Cut a circle on the top of each bread loaf and remove most of the crumbs, arrange the slices of Emmental so it’s completely covered on the inside, and place it on the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, enough time to melt and cover the inside without burning it.
Remove bread from the oven and preheat the broiler, discard bay leaf and thyme from soup, fill the bread loafs with soup and cover it with the Gruyère slices allowing ends to hang over the bread, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Put the breads back on the oven and Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.