Recipe adapted from Gourmet magazine.
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 whole star anise
6 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 pounds red onions, cut into 1/2 -inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 small baguette, sliced
2 cups coarsely grated Manchego or Gruyere cheese
Bring broth, water, spices and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook onions in oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a heavy, medium-size pot over medium heat, covered. Stir occasionally until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add wine and boil, uncovered, until reduced to 2 tablespoons.
Strain broth through a sieve into onion mixture and briskly simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Season with salt.
Preheat broiler, ladle soup into 4 ovenproof bowls and set on baking sheet. Place baguette slices on top of each bowl and sprinkle each with 1/2 cup cheese. Broil about 6 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Serves 4.
Per serving: 568 calories; 31 g fat (12 g saturated fat; 49 percent calories from fat); 44 g carbohydrates; 74 mg cholesterol; 1,206 mg sodium; 27 g protein; 5 g fiber.