Make a bouquet garni by placing bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, and garlic in the center of a 12" square of cheesecloth, and tying the cloth's ends together. Set aside.
In a heavy pot, saute onions in oil over medium-low heat.
Cover pot with a lid, but leave it slightly ajar.
Add water or stock along with the bouquet garni.
Season soup with extra salt, soy sauce, or miso if desired.
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