French onion soup with cheese is without a doubt a most comforting dish to help combat frigid winter days.
Peel onions and slice into half rings.
Heat a large casserole on medium with the butter.
As soon as the butter begins to melt, add half the onions. Mix and raise the heat slightly. Stir occasionally until the onions begin to sweat.
Incorporate the remaining onions with the salt and spices. Mix and continue cooking, stirring from time to time until caramelized and browned (20 to 30 minutes).
A dark brown, sticky crust will form at the bottom of the casserole, which will eventually lend a lovely colour to the soup. Be careful not to burn the bottom however, by using a spatula to scrape when mixing the onions. If needed, reduce the heat towards the end of the cooking.
Pour the beer and 4 cups of water into the casserole. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 400 °F. Toast the bread on a baking sheet.
Mix the grated cheeses together.
Put a small handful of cheese at the bottom of each ramequin or gratin bowl.
Fill the bowls three-quarters full of soup and place a slice of bread on top. Cover generously with cheese.
Heat the oven and broil the soups.