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5 cups thinly sliced halved onions
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1-1/2 pounds sliced baby portobello mushrooms
3 tablespoons brandy, optional
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups vegetable broth
1 cup white wine or additional vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon pepper
13 slices French bread (1/2 inch thick)
13 slices provolone cheese
In a Dutch oven, saute onions and thyme in 1 tablespoon butter until onions are tender, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 20 minutes or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove onions to a bowl.
In the same pan, melt remaining butter. Add mushrooms, brandy if desired and garlic; saute for 1 minute. Return onions to pan. Add broth, wine and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until onions are very tender.
Meanwhile, place French bread slices on a baking sheet; top each slice with provolone cheese. Broil 4-6 inches from the heat for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Discard thyme sprigs from soup; top soup with cheese-topped bread.