4 large yellow onions, sliced
3 Tbsp butter or safflower oil
1 quart vegetable stock
2 cups tomato or V-8 juice
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp tarragon
pinch of thyme
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp brandy (more if desired)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan or Gruyère, grated
6 to 8 slices French bread, toasted (optional)

Sauté the onions and garlic in the butter or oil until the onions are very tender. Add the stock and remaining ingredients except the bread and cheese. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Place a heaping tablespoonful of cheese in each bowl and ladle the soup in over it. Top with bread and more cheese. Serve at once.