Five onions, half a stick of butter. Slice the onions thin, and sauté on medium heat for a bloody long time — about forty-five minutes, making sure it doesn’t stick. The onions will be distinctly brown after treatment such as this.
Add a quart of water, three-quarters of a cup of pearled barley, half a dried serrano pepper, five allspice, two tablespoons of soy sauce, two drops of liquid smoke (quite optional but delicious), a pinch of rosemary, and a teaspoon of salt.
Simmer until the barley is tender, half an hour or so.
Serve with a grating of goat gouda or gruyère cheese, broiled if you can get it to float that long.