Friday, February 10, 2006

Vegetarian French Onion Soup: Recipe

Getting a really rich broth is key to the success of this classic French soup. That's not always easy to do with veggie broth, but I think I've come pretty close. Mine uses a combination of vegetable broth, wine, butter, miso, mushroom soy sauce and nutritional yeast.

There's not much work to the recipe, but it does take a long time to cook the onions slowly, in the right way. The flavors just get better over time, so it's a good idea to make the soup a day or two in advance.

To make the recipe vegan-friendly: substitute equivalent amounts of olive oil for the butter and soy cheese for the cheese. You can make it lower in fat by decreasing the amount of butter and cheese: just don't tell me about it.

French Onion Soup

8 large onions (or equivalent, ie 10 medium, 12 small, etc)
6 ounces butter
2 quarts of the best vegetable broth you can get your hands on
1/2 cup dark miso

1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp mushroom soy sauce
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Stale loaf of good, crusty Euro-style bread, such as French baguette
Lots of cheese--such as Gruyere, Comte, Emmanthaler or plain old Swiss--for putting on top
Oven-proof bowls

1. Peel and thinly slice the onions.

2. In a big soup pot, melt the butter over very low heat.

3. Keeping the heat very low, cook the onions partially covered for five or six hours, stirring occasionally. At the end they will be totally soft, very light brown and smell incredible.

4. Throw the broth, miso, red wine, soy sauce, and nutritional yeast into the soup.

5. At this point you can let the soup stand for a day or two to let the flavors marry. (Flavors can marry, and we can't?!!!) Put the soup in the fridge once it's cool.

6. When you're ready to serve, heat the soup, slowly bringing it to a boil. Taste for seasonings. Add salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

7. Preheat your broiler to its highest setting. Slice the cheese, so that there's a LOT to put on the top of each bowl. You're trying to make a little crust of cheese up there. (Hmmm. Crust of cheese. That doesn't sound good, but--trust me--it is.)

8. Put a piece of bread in each soup bowl. Ladel the soup over the bread, and then lay the slices of cheese on top of the soup.

9. Place the soup bowls on a baking tray and then slide them under the broiler. Keep them there until the cheese on top is bubbling and has picked up some brown spots. Remove from the oven and let sit for a minute or two. Use hot pads to put the bowls on plates and serve.

Monsieur Fromage dit, "C'est si bon!!"


Anonymous mark said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'll definitely give it a try. French onion soup was one of my favorite foods as a kid, and it would be fun to have a really great one now that I'm vegetarian. I already know it will be good since Monsieur Fromage said so; he never lies.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have been searching for a really good French Onion soup!! This looks like it's,... THE ONE!!!
Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Fromage!!

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

try using a white wine instead, the tanins in a red will cut the sweetness that you get from cameralizing the onions.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous French course said...

Great healthy French onion recipe. I'm not very fond of wine so I would try to replace it with something else.

6:43 PM  

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