And the time was right, naturally, for you to sock us with another week of winter. Snow-salted sidewalks, knife-toothed wind, and raw, gray mornings. Though I was as suckered into spring as the next person, it was kind of enjoyable to sigh and get the soup pot down off its hanger again. Though spring is the beginning of many things, it is emphatically the end of soup season. Turns out, I wasn't ready to let it go. Not quite yet.
I've been kicking around this recipe for French Onion Soup for awhile now. It's in Voluptuous Vegan, by Myra Kornfeld, and it's vegan. More importantly, (for us at least) it's vegetarian. I figured I wouldn't miss the beef stock, what with all the marvelous onions and leeks and goodness that goes into this soup. I was right.
I maintain, though, that cheese is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, and so our tureens of onion soup were gratinized with gruyere.
French Onion Soup (adapted from Voluptuous Vegan)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
5 cups chopped leeks (about 5 medium, white part only; save the greens for stock)
3/4 cup minced shallots
1 cup sliced scallions (about 4)
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups good-quality vegetable stock-- Imagine makes a good one, or use homemade
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp salt, more to taste
a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 baguette, cut into thin rounds
~1 cup grated gruyere cheese
Warm the oil in a big, flat-bottomed pot. Add the onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, for ten minutes, until the onions are wilted. Toss in the rest of the veggies: scallions, shallots, and garlic. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook slowly for half an hour, stirring occasionally. Now, add the stock, soy sauce, and molasses. Bring the mixture up to a boil, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover partially and cook for another half hour.
Meanwhile, spread your baguette slices on a cookie sheet, and rev up your broiler. Broil the rounds, watching attentively to make sure they don't burn. Flip them and broil the other side. Set aside.
If you have oven-safe soup bowls or gratin dishes, make sure they're on standby.
Once the soup is done cooking, place three baguette rounds in each bowl, and ladle soup over top. Sprinkle with a zealous amount of grated cheese. If you're using oven-safe bowls, you can slide them in under the broiler for five minutes to brown. Dig in and enjoy.
For best results, drink lots of red wine on the side.