Ingredients:(Yields: 4 servings)
• 1 ½ teaspoons virgin olive oil or butter
• 1 ½ lbs onions, thinly sliced
• 5 cups vegetable broth
• Salt & pepper, to taste
• 1 lb unshelled Fava beans, about 1 cup shelled
• 1 ½ tbsp sugar
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 6 tablespoons Port
• 1 whole tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded, and diced
• 4 thick crusty slices of French country-style bread, toasted
• 4 oz Comté or Emmentaler Cheese, grated, optional
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the sliced onions and sauté over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly or until they are soft and golden brown.
Add the vegetable broth, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and blanch the fava beans for 2 minutes. Remove with a wire mesh strainer and refresh under cold running water. Drain, peel off the thick skin of the beans and set aside.
Combine the sugar and water together in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes golden caramel colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and port. Return to the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously until the caramel is completely dissolved. Strain into the broth.
Gently stir in the peeled beans and tomato and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Divide the bread and cheese among side plates. Ladle the hot soup into warm bowls and serve immediately.