Onion soup is one of those dishes that is so simple it can be hard to perfect. I became a vegetarian when I was 14 and shortly before doing so I ate an amazing French Onion soup that I’ve been trying to recreate for half my life it feels(almost true). The key to great Onion soup is caramelizing the onions, really cooking them down and having a hearty flavorful broth. Beef stock obviously gives it a rich deep color and a earthy saltiness that is hard to recreate in a vegetarian dish, but not impossible. Sue and I made a goal, we needed to eat this soup this winter. It’s been snowing so much and there really are few more dishes as comforting as French Onion soup. Well Ladies and Gents we did it and what else did I do?? I forgot my freakin’ camera to document the glory. Luckily I sought out help on this one, cause lord knows I have tried and failed enough at this simple, simple soup. The recipe that we adapted ours from comes from a food/travel blog called Vanilla Latte ( they have super photos of the soup by the way; they did not forget their camera). You can go to their blog for their recipe,or view my altered version below. I promise whichever you use, it shall be amazing! Thanks again Vanilla Latte !
French Onion Soup (the veggie way)
- 3 large yellow onions, halved and then sliced thinly
- 4 cups of good organic veggie broth ( I like the “Imagine” brand)
- 1 cup of red wine(we used a cab sav but any dry red works)
- 4 large cloves of garlic chopped ( I don’t like to mince in this case, the onions cook a long time and you want sweetness to come out)
- 1 small portabello mushroom or a couple of mini bellas chopped as finely as you can, you don’t want to notice mushroom chunks they are there for the colour and earthy flavor
- 1 heaping tbsp of dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg and dried mustard
- loads of freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
- 1 cup of grated cheese, we used guyere which I highly recommend but ti’s hard to find a lipase free one if not mixing veggie friendly mozerella with asiago gives it the same nutty flavour, if you subbed the wine for beer, use cheddar (yum)
- Bagette, we chose to cut into 1″ square croutons and dried out a little while we were cooking, when the soup was ready we toasted them in the oven before topping the soup and adding cheese
In a large saucepan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic and saute until they become tender. Season with salt and pepper and add dried herbs (leave out bay leaves for now). You will need to turn down the heat a little so you do not burn the onions. The goal is to caramelize the sugars and get some super soft brown and sweet onion mixture. This does take time be patient!
Once you have deliciously sweet caramelized onions add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it properly and get all the tasty bits.
Add broth and bay leaves, simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes. Start toasting the croutons during this time. You don’t want them super brown cause they get thrown in the oven again. I usually drizzle them with a little olive oil and put them in at about 350 for 5 mins or so.
To assemble an actual French onion soup bowl works best or larger ramekins. Pour them about half full with soup, add toasty croutons and heap with your fav mixture of cheese(s). Pop it back int he oven for a good other 5 minutes or so, I sometimes am a little too impatient and broil them. You want bubbly cheese and brown croutons.
Ps don’t be too impatient and burn yourself while eating it like I do. 😉