Three Onion Soup

4  tablespoons unsalted butter
2  pounds red onions, thinly sliced
2  pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2  pound shallots, thinly sliced
1  tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4  cups beef stock or low-sodium canned broth
1/4  cup dry sherry
1  log (4 oz.) soft mild goat cheese, softened
3  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10  slices (1/4 inch thick) French baguette
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in each of 2 large skillets over moderate heat. Divide onions, shallots, and 1 tablespoon thyme between pans and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown (do not burn), about 1 hour. Add 1/2 cup stock to each skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces to a glaze. Transfer both onion mixtures to a 5-quart pot; stir in 4 cups water and remaining 3 cups stock. Simmer soup, uncovered, until reduced to 6 cups. Add sherry; salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat; keep soup hot, covered. 
Meanwhile, stir together goat cheese, 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme; salt and pepper to taste. Preheat broiler. Brush bread slices on one side with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and broil, turning, until golden brown. Spread toasts with goat cheese mixture. Serve soup ladled into bowl with cheese toasts on side. 
Makes 6 servings.  

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