Makes 9 cups; 6 main-dish servings

Notes: To decorate servings, set aside a few caramelized onion pieces.

How to Make It

Step 1

In an 8- or 9-inch-wide pan, mix shallots with oil. Bake in a 375° oven until deep golden, shaking pan occasionally to turn pieces, about 1 hour.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir onions, butter, and sugar until onions are deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Step 3

Add sherry to shallots, stirring to release browned bits in pan. Pour mixture into onions. In a blender, whirl vegetables, a portion at a time, until very smooth, adding enough broth to facilitate blending. Return puréed vegetables to pan. Add remaining broth, thyme, and sage.

Step 4

Stirring often, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors. Add half-and-half and stir over medium-high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add parsley.

Step 5

Ladle into bowls and season to taste with hot sauce, salt and pepper, and juice from lemon wedges.

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